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Full text of ""A lott of city in 100 years," 1871-1971; centennial history of Gibson City, Illinois"

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YEARS" 1871-1971'. A Gfi4e*^^'^l 

1871 - 1971 


Gibson City, Illinois 

1871 ■ 1971 



Gibson City, Illinois 

published by the authority 


Gibson City Area Centennial, Inc. 


Table of Contents 

Agriculture 5 

Biographical Sketches 11 

Business and Industry 18 

City of Gibson 29 

History 42 

Organizations 50 

Recreation and Athletic Events 65 

Religion and Education 70 

Special Events and Reminiscences 84 

Transportation, Plats and Maps 95 

Veterans 103 




June26Thru July 3, 1971 

Gibson City, Illinois 60936 

"ALottof City In 100 Years" 



L. DeWayne Grafton 

Spectacle Ticket Division: 
James F, Thompson 

Vice President: 
Wayne A. O'Neal 

Spectacle Division: 
Harold D. Graff II 

Ernest E. Brown 

Publicity Division: 
James E. Miller 

Gordon L. Barry 

Special Events Division: 
Ruby J. Smith 

General Chairman: 
L. DeWayne Grafton 

Special Days Committee: 
Kenneth & Jackie Curtis 

Headquarters Chairman: 
R. Douglas Knapp 

General Secretary: 
Imogene Smith 

Revenue Division: 
George C. Childs. Jr. 

General Treasurer: 
Betty J Heideman 

Participation Division: 
Margaret E. Barry 
F{()bert P. Boyce 

Headquarters Secretary: 
Virginia L. Ricks 

S-in^imon Avenue, North. Gib:.-.!-! Citv.lH. 



To all of you who helped make this book possible, we are grateful. The Cen- 
tennial Book Committee of the Gibson City Area Centennial Association wishes 
to thank all those who wrote articles, loaned pictures and gave so freely of their 
information and time. We especially thank Mrs. Bess Miner Johnson, Mrs. Helen 
Foster Kelly and Miss Evelyn Dueringer for their literary contributions, and the 
Gibson City Coin Club which designed the Centennial Medallion. 

We crown Mrs. Valeria Hunt of the Gibson City Courier staff "Super Belle" for 
her editing, writing and organizing of the material for this book! 

Centennial Commemorative Book Committee: 

Harold Farnsworth, chairman, businesses and industry 

Mrs. David Brownlee, civic organizations 

Mrs. Stewart Anderson, City of Gibson 

Mrs. William L. Day and Mrs. Bess Johnson, biographical sketches 

Mrs. Richard Schertz, transportation, plats and maps 

Mrs. Marion Knapp, education and religion 

Mr. & Mrs. Glenn Speers, special events and reminiscences 

Harold "Pete" Palmer, non-school recreation and athletic events 

Horry Ricks, veterans 
Raymond Green, agriculture 

Thp Frederick Barrow family came from Frederick County Virginia to the Gibson City area 
in 1867, to seek a new lifeafter the ravages of the Civil War. (Picture - 1872) 

1. Frances Virginia Barrow (Mrs. Joseph Jones) 

2. .Ann .America Barrow (Mrs. Oliver Perry Hagin) 
:i. Frederick Barrow 

I. Mary Ann Smith Barrow (Mrs. Frederick) 

-,. Alberta Catherine Barrow (Mrs. Samuel W. Wade) 
H. Mary Owen Barrow (Mrs. Samuel H. Preston) 

7. Lewis William Barrow 

8. Alpheus Walker Barrow 

9. Augustus .Adolphus Barrow 
1(1. John William Barrow 

II. Hamilton Jefferson Barrow 
12. Charles Frederick Barrow 



Surt'ly llio Iriu" liislory ol ("libson Cily cmmiioI he lold 
vMlluHil ;i soi-llon on aprii'ulliirf iiiid sdiiiflliiiifj ol Ihe carK 
pioiu'cr siMllers and Ihcii- progress during Ihe lasl KM) years 
There will be some unnilenlionally omilled due lo laek of 

The land in (his area was "not a barren waste; il was a 
bleak, cold waste in the wintertime and lush grass in the 
suinnier." The snow went the way the wind look il, as far as it 
wanted to go and the lumbleweeds did Ihe same. In the 
summer, it was swamp, grass, and flowers The wind 
blowing Ihe tall grass was as beautiful as waves on Ihe sea. 
One could see as far as the strength of the eyes would permit, 
and if one knew where he wanted to go, there was nothing to 
prevent or guide him. Ponds of water were numerous in the 
tall grass which was easier to walk into than out of. 

The country was given over mostly to grazing and cattle 
were fattened on grass, then driven to market in Chicago. 
The farmers had a hard time keeping cattle and deer from 
their little patches of corn. They purchased hedge plants by 
Ihe hundreds for fences, along with some zig - zag rail ones. 
These fences gave way lo wire ones, and years later to some 
electric ones for a temporary fence. Today one sees very few 
of any type. 

The first farm buildings were made of logs. By 1875, some 
saw mills were available and roughly - sawed lumber was 
used As time went by, farm buildings changed with needs; 
materials were manufactured to permit building with con- 
crete, brick, steel, as well as wood. 

One of the early settlers to have a brick and tile factory in 
the area, before Gibson City, was Andrew Jordan who came 
from New York in 1854 by covered wagon. His first home was 
a log cabin built on the Jordan homestead south of Gibson 
City. The farm is now owned and farmed by Mr. and Mrs, 
Raymond Reiners. Mrs. Reiners is a great - granddaughter 
of Andrew Jordan. He had the first tile and brick factory, and 
mosi of the early tiling was done using his tile. In 1880, he 
donated 20,000 bricks with which to build the First Christian 
Church in Gibson City. He was a successful farmer and 
eventually owned 1,100 acres of good land, feeding most of 
the corn he raised to fatten cattle. The corn was mostly fed 
from the shock with the corn cut by hand, and hauled in on a 
sled during the winter. Mr. Jordan planted his first corn 
under trying circumstances. His wife dropped Ihe corn by 
hand covering it with the hoe while he plowed the ground 
ahead with a walking plow and their first - born baby in his 

II look two or three years of farming this prairie sod before 
the fibrous roots were decayed enough to raise a good crop of 
corn. Later the corn planter came into use. It was a crude 
implement with two box - like funnels - - one on either side in 
front of the wide wheels. The driver's seat was on spring rods 
behind and above the corn boxes. There was a crank that had 
lo be jerked back and forth to release the corn from the 
boxes. Before planting, the fields were marked at three feet 
opposite from the way it was lo be planted; as the planter 
crossed these marks, the corn was dropped by jerking the 
crank About this time, the double - shovel cultivator came 
into use which required a complete round of the field for each 
row^ of corn. A polished steel plow was introduced by 1870 
revolutionizing cultivation of our prairies. 

Along with the improved corn planter came the reaper, 
about 1884, which gave great aid in the harvesting of wheat, 
oats, and rye. The usual way of sowing small grain was by 
hand and covering by dragging brush over the grain. The 
harvesting was done by cutting the ripened grain with a 

cradle; (hen a flail was used lo separate grain from Ihcstraw 
by healing ilout. The wind then blew away Ihe chaff and dirt 
One of the first successful reapers was built in Bloomington 
Later came the crude binders which cut and bound Ihe urain 
to be shocked by hand. Then came the threshing machines 
where Ihe straw was earned away from the separator by 
canvas aprons and slacked by men lo preserve for wmter 
feed II look 30 or more men to keep Ihe machine supplied 
with sheaves of grain hauled in from Ihe field and the 
threshed grain hauled away for storage to keep a large 
threshing machine operating at a profit to the owner. These 
canvas aprons were soon replaced by a blower on the rear of 
the separator which blew thestraw ontoa stack. 

The next step of progress for the small grain farmer was 
the combine that can now harvest as much in a day as 30 men 
could do 50 years ago. About this time, too, new railroads 
were able to carry grain to distant markets. 

Corn pickers came into use around 1920 -- the first ones 
were single row and very crude. They were pulled by horses, 
and, needless to say, were very inefficient. Then came the 
single row pulled by tractor; they were followed by pull - type 
2 - row; then the mounted 2 - row that was and is very ef- 
ficient, as are the 3 - row. Now much of the corn is harvested 
by large combines with "corn heads" attached that pick and 
shell 20 to 30 acres a day. To keep up with the times, many 
are air - conditioned. 

Corn elevators came into general use about 1910. The first 
ones were very crude, but saved much hand - scooping and 
hard labor as all corn cribbed before was scooped into rail - 
pin cribs. Rapid improvement was made in the elevators and 
as higher and larger cribs were built, inside elevators were 

Careful farmers found their profits consisted in a system of 
mixed farming, taking advantage of all improved 
machinery, seed selection, and the best of breeding in all 
kinds of livestock. Machinery of every kind has so improved 
through the years that agriculture is no longer just a farm 
enterprise, but a well - set - up business that has required a 
well - planned rotation of crops, commercial fertilizer, 
hybrid seeds, and breeding and feeding of livestock. We 
should be able to profit by the hardships and efforts of our 
forefathers, but may also give to our sons and daughters the 
better ways and means of our agriculture. 

Listed here are some of the pioneer farmers who did much 
lo promote agriculture in the vicinity of Gibson City during 
the past 100 years. The information was obtained mostly 
from "Illustrated Historic Atlas of Ford County, Illinois, 
1884" and "Portrait and Biolographical Record of Ford 
County, 1892". Undoubtedly, some have been omitted due to 
lack of information. 

1. THOMAS STEVENS — Mr. and Mrs. Stevens and 
family settled on Section 35 of Drummer Township in the 
early fifties. He engaged largely in cattle raising and hired 
men to work for him. They also drove the fattened cattle to 
market in Chicago. Two of the men were John Kerchenfaut 
and William Day, Sr. These men remained in the area, 
buying land for themselves as they could afford it. The 
Stevens' home was a large one located on what was then 
called Stevens' Creek and is now called Drummer Creek. It 
was located on the main road from Danville lo Peoria and 
was a stopping place in those days for travelers. 

2 FREDERICK BARROW — Frederick and Mary Ann 
Barrow with their 16 children came to this area in 1867 from 
Virginia and built their first home two miles from our village 
on raw, unbroken prairie land. The Civil War had completely 
destroyed their property in Virginia, so they moved nor- 
thwest. Their children included John, Hamilton, Augustus, 




An early farm scene 


Anna, Alpheus. Frances, Alberta, Charles, Mary, and Lewis. 
There were eight enrolled in the Scotland School at one time. 
Because of Mr. Barrow's ill health, they moved to Gibson 
City in 1882. He passed away in 1885. Five of the Barrow sons 
and one daughter, Mrs. Anna Hagen, lived on their own 
farms east of town. 

3. CAI.IB McKKKVER — Mr. and Mrs. Calib McKeever 
were married in 1855 and with their six children came to this 
area sometime later. One son, W. E. McKeever, lived west of 
town. They were the parents of Mayme Fox (Mrs. R. L.); 
Earl; Gertrude Speedie (Mrs. Ralph) deceased; and Miss 
Edna. They lived in Gibson City upon retiring from the farm. 
Their land is still owned and farmed by their heirs. 

4. PETER MAIN — Peter Main was born in Scotland and 

came to the United States in 1854 and to Ford County in 18fi6 
where he settled in Dixon Township, just east of Gibson City 
He lived on the farm until his death in 1880 His son, Peter, 
look over Ihc farm and was very prominent in the community 
until he passed away in 1931. He and Mrs. Main were parents 
of Russell (deceased); Lawrence; Ethel Woolley; and 
Elmer. Elmer's widow, RachacI Luther Main, still lives on 
the farm, since his death in 1966. The Main family has always 
been mosi active in church and community affairs. 

5. BENJAMIN McClARE - Benjamin McClure. known 
as "Uncle Ben " was one of the well - known pioneers of Ford 
County in 1868 He came here from Indiana, living for a lime 
near Springfield, Illinois, where he had laid a claim 8 miles 
east. He lived there for three years before coming to F'ord 

County, settling in Drummer Township some 9 miles nor- 
thwest of Gibson City. He made his home here until 1876 when 
he moved from Gibson City leaving 156 acres of good land to 
his son, O. D. McClure, to operate. Later the farming of the 
land was assumed by "Uncle Ben's" great - grandson, 
Wallace McClure, who still lives on the homestead. 

6. OLIVER SHIRLEY — Oliver Shirley was an honored 
veteran of the Civil War and an influential farmer in 
Drummer Township, where he came to live in 1869 from 
Logan County, Illinois. He married Mary F. Summer of Ohio 
in October, 1843. Three children were born to this couple - 
Harry; Elizabeth; and Oliver. He and his wife were 
prominent members of the First Christian Church in Gibson 
City. His son, Oliver, Jr., farmed the land after he retired; 
then it was passed on to his grandson, Robert. 

7. WILLIAM S. HUSTON — William S. Huston was a 
native of Pennsylvania, born on February 1, 1849, on the 
same farm which was the birthplace of his father and 
grandfather. He was well - educated and after completing the 
public school, spent some time in the New London Academy 
in Pennsylvania. He located in Drummer Township in 1876, 
purchasing a quarter section of land at $35 per acre. He later 
increased his holdings to 480 acres. He married Miss Mary 
Foley and was the father of two sons -- J. Walter; and 
Frederick, who died in 1929. A grandson, Howard, now farms 
the homestead. 

8. CRAIG GILMORE — Craig Gilmore was born in 
Harrison County, Ohio, in January, 1837, son of Nathaniel and 
Mary Craig Gilmore. The parents were adherents of the 
United Presbyterian Church and were prominent and highly - 
respected farmers. On March 25, 1869, he married Mary E. 
Richey and they were parents of Edwin S. ; John R. ; Anna 
M.; Ida B.; and Craig M. Mr. Gilmore was one of the in- 
fluential men in the building of the Presbyterian Church in 
Gibson City. His land lies north of Gibson City, and the estate 
is being farmed by Fred, a grandson. 

9. ALBERT GILMORE — Albert Gilmore was also a son 
of Nathaniel and Mary Craig Gilmore. He came to Ford 
County in 1870. In connnection with general farming, he 
engaged in stock raising, making a specialty of high - grade 
cattle. On February 18, 1880, Mr. Gilmore married Elizabeth 
Boundy of Peoria. They were parents of four children ~ 
Samuel; Emma J. ; Lilly M. ; and Cynthia M. He was a self - 
made man who worked himself up to a position of affluence. 
His land is still owned by his grandson, Arthur Gilmore. 

10. DAVID GREEN — David Green, one of the early and 
prosperous farmers in the vicinity, came to the county in 
1870 and settled on a farm south of town, now known as the 
Denne land. He came from Ohio where he had married Miss 
Augustus Haines. They were the parents of 13 children. 
Besides farming, Mr. Green manufactured "Green's Golden 
Syrup," made of the sugar cane grown on his farm. His oldest 
son, Herbert, lived at home until 1883 when he married 
Amanda Fox of Chapin, Illinois. They started farming on a 
farm south of town and in 1890 bought the Bowker estate 

which is on present Route 47. It later was registered as the 
"Maple Grove Farm." At that time, the farm was a swamp 
and much tiling had to be done to make it a profitable farm. 
This tiling was done, all by hand, with tile produced on the 
Jordan farm just north of Green's. Herbert and Amanda 
were the parents of Blanche, who died at age 6 in 1890; Grace 
(widow of Dr. Earl Briggs) in California; Mary Young, 
deceased; Raymond; Addie, (widow of Albert Burns) In- 
diana; and Lee of Alberta, Canada. They lived on the farm 
until 1919 when they built a new home across Route 47 and 
moved there upon retirement. It was then that Raymond 
brought in his bride, Marion Hyde of Rantoul, to move into 
the homestead and assume the farming. This was after 
Raymond had served 9 months in World War I. They raised 
their three children, Alice, (now Mrs. J. A. Siegfried of 
Scottsdale, Arizona) ; Herbert H. ; and Marianne, (now Mrs. 
Jack Greyer of Aurora) in the home where he was born and 
raised. Besides farming, he was a breeder of registered 
Belgian horses, having accompanied D. K. Roth to Belgium 
in 1919 for his original breeding stock. When tractors 
replaced horses, he turned his attention to become the owner 
and breeder of a fine herd of registered Maple Grove 
Guernseys - one of the best herds in the state. Fire destroyed 
the modern, newly - remodeled dairy barn and milking 
parlor in 1959. It was then that he and his son, Herbert, 
decided to dispose of the herd. By this time, Herbert had 
assumed the farming of the land upon the retirement of his 
father. Herbert, who is the fourth generation of Greens on 
this farm came in 1949 to the home his grandfather had built 
in 1919. His wife is Mary McLaughlin of Decatur, and their 
family consists of Kathy, James, and Barbara. He raises 
Pioneer hybrid seed corn and fattens cattle. Through the 
years, Maple Grove Farm has always been an "Open House" 
for relatives and friends. The occupants are most active in 
the Methodist Church and community affairs. 

11. JOHN FOSTER — John Foster came to Ford County 
in 1873 and bought a farm west of Gibson City, which was 
taken over by his son, John S. Foster, in 1893. In 1897, John S. 
was married to Ella Vaughn of Gibson City, whose father was 
a dealer in farm machinery. They were parents of four 
children - John V., deceased; Helen Foster Kelly, in 
homestead; Ella Corine, deceased; and Stanhope B. Foster, 
who lives nearby and oversees the farming of the land. 

12. D. K. ROTH — Dan and Leanna Mossiman Roth came 
from Morton to this area in 1901 and moved to the Fulton 
farm south of town, which is still in the Roth estate. He was a 
progressive farmer and at one time did most of the threshing 
for the farmers here. In 1911, he made the first of three trips 
to Belgium, accompanied by his young neighbor, Raymond 
Green, to purchase horses. They bought 20 young mares and 
a stallion to start his breeding herd. In 1923, he started the 
"Corn Belt Hatchery and Feed Mill". This proved most 
successful and became an important industry in Gibson City. 
In 1937, he started a herd of registered angus cattle which 
grew to be one of the best herds in the state. The Roth family 
consists of Lelia Pannabacker of Peoria, deceased; Frieda 
Roth Greenan, Scottsdale, Arizona; Waldo, Florida; Harold, 
Scottsdale, Arizona; Anita Roth Conrad, Scottsdale, 
Arizona; and Helen Roth Francis of Gibson City. Always a 
public benefactor, Mr. and Mrs. Roth donated a farm toward 
the building cost of the Gibson City Community Hospital in 
1951. The grandson of D. K. Roth, Eugene Roth, now lives on 
the Roth farm and farms the estate. 



This V2 page sponsored by 
and Merchants National Bank of 

The first 2 - row cultivators (using three horses) 
came into use about liH.i. With weather not too hot for 
the horses, a man could cultivate 15 acres a day. The 
one - row cultivators ( using two horses ) took tw ice as 

long. Picture was tal<en on a farm about five miles 
south of Gibson City which was then farmed by the 
grandfather of John Summers. 



This threshing scene was lalten about 1)>!»0 when the steam engine was used. 
With this outfit the straw was carried away from the separator on a canvas 
conveyor that oscillated and the straw was stacked by two men. These 
stacks were shaped so as to shed water and preserve the feed for horses and 
cattle through the winter. 


•...-^ '•-<«, 

"'i V^'^ «»■•■• 

A threshing scene taken in 1900 shows the oats bundles being men shown on stack. The wives of the men were kept busy 
hauled to the separator on hay racks. The straw was blown preparing noon and evening meals for the 30 - man crew, 
out from the separator. Straw was placed around by the two 


M. T. Burwell 

John H. Collier 

Dr. Davis g 

Dr. Hoover 

Andrew Jordan 

Samuel J. LeFevre ^ 

Jonathon B. Lott ^ 

Emmanuel Lowry Q 

Evan Mattinson 

Jacob C. Mellinger R 

Wm. Moyer 

Negro Citizens 

Samuel P. Rady P 

John Adams Rockwood 

Lewis Rockwood H 

Dr. Talbert B. Strauss ■ 

Michael Sullivant 

Nelson B. Tyler C 

James H. White 

Dr. Wiley A 

Wm. J. Wilson i 

George W. Wood 



M. T. BURWELL, a native of Clark County, Ohio arrived in 
the village of Gibson in the spring of 1873 and opened the first 
bank in one of the small frame buildings just south of the 
Illinois Central depot on Sangamon avenue. Two years later 
he moved to a wooden building north of Union Hall. 

In 1878, his brother ■ in - law, William J. Wilson of Clark 
County joined the banking firm, which then moved to a brick 
building at the corner of Sangamon and Ninth St., which Mr. 
Burwell had constructed. Mr. Burwell retired from the 
banking firm in 1882 but had interests in other businesses, 
owning several buildings including the Bank building, the 
Burwell Hotel, just east of the bank (part of which is now 
occupied by the Hunt Insurance Agency) and the Burwell 
Opera House where many social and civic events were held. 
The stage there was as fine as some in large cities and many 
shows and opera companies appeared there. 

Mr. Burwell married Miss Isabelle Goodfellow in Clark 
Co., Ohio. They were parents of several children. The Bur- 
wells moved to Kansas City about the mid - 90s. While visiting 
her sister Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Burwell died on March 3, 1898. 
Mr. Burwell passed away in Kansas City in 1908. 

JOHN H. COLLIER, pioneer hardware merchant in the 
village of Gibson since 1871, was a native of Oneida County, 
N. Y. where he was born in 1844. His father came from 
England with his parents at the age of nine. In 1855 the Collier 
family migrated to Lake County, Illinois. John was the oldest 
of eight children. 

When only 18 years of age, he enlisted in Company D, 96th 
Illinois Infantry. He was twice wounded but served until the 
end of the war. He then returned to Antioch Lake County and 
engaged in merchandising until 1871 when he came to Gibson 
and opened the first hardware store in partnership with H. J. 

Mr. Collier held various public offices including Supervisor 
of Drummer Township, Board of Trustees of Town, elected 
and twice re - elected to the General Assembly of Ford and 
Livingston Counties and First Commander of Lott Post No. 70 

On May 5, 1875, the Hon. Mr. Collier married Miss Harriett 
McClure and to this union two children were born, Ben in 1878 
and Kate in 1882. 

DR.^JOSHUA C. DAVIS, pioneer physician and farmer, 
came to Drummer Grove in the spring of 1854 and built his 
house at the south edge of the grove. At that time there was 
not a house to be seen as far as the eye could reach. 

He was a native of Dublen, Ohio, where he grew to 
manhood, and in early life began the shady of medicine, later 
graduating from the Cincinnati Eletric Medical College. Soon 
after graduation he went to practice medicine in Rodney and 
Grand Gulf, Miss, and remained there during the cholera 
epedimic while many other doctors fled the area. While in 

Mississipppi, Dr. Davis was united in marriage with Miss 
Ellen Hall, a native of Indiana. About 1849, Dr. Davis moved 
with his family to Saybrook, Illinois where he practiced for a 
few years. He bought land in Ford County as he accumulated 
means and moved his family 25 miles to the east, across the 
prairie to Drummer Grove in 1854. 

Dr. Davis was an excellent physician and had an extensive 
practice, never refusing to answer a call when needed, 
regardless of the weather or time, making his rounds on 
horse - back, by car t, wagon and later in the only buggy in the 

Dr. Davis acquired land as he had the means and owned 700 
acres at one time. He was also agent for much of the land in 
the area and it was through him that Jonathan B. Lott pur- 
chased the land that became the site of the village of Gibson. 

Dr. and Mrs. Davis were the parents of eight children, five 
boys and three girls. As the children grew older and needed 
schooling. Dr. Davis hired a teacher. Miss Mary Ann 
George, to teach them in his home and invited his pioneer 
neighbors to send their children there also. In 1866, he helped 
build a school house at the Grove on his land. The foundation 
stones were visable there for many years. 

The family remained on the farm until 1875 when financial 
reverses forced the sale of the land. They then moved into the 
village. In 1881, Dr. and Mrs. Davis moved to Bloomington 
and two years later to Chicago where a son lived. 

Dr. Davis, pioneer physician and settler, is honored by a 
memorial gift in his name to the Gibson Community Hospital 
by members of the family of his great - granddaughter, Mrs. 
Frank Hunt, Jr. the Plaque was placed on the door of the 
Medical Records room. 

DR. W. A. HOOVER came to Gibson City in September 
1886 to practice dentistry. He continued his practice in the 
same location for 50 years. His office was located in the brick 
building erected by J. L. Saxton at the corner of Sangamon 
Ave. and 9th Street. He sold his practice to Dr. H. P. Work- 
man in October 1936. 

Dr. Hoover came here from Greenville, Ohio. He 
graduated from the University of Michigan. He married the 
former Laura E. Howver. August 29, 1887. She changed only 
one letter in her last name when she married Dr. Hoover. 
They were the parents of one daughter, Sibyl, who married 
O. R. Middleton (both were attorneys). Mrs. Middleton still 
resides in Gibson City. The Hoovers adopted a daughter, 
Josephine. She married Thomas Pullen and now resides in 
Indian Rock Beach, Fla. 

his wife and their year old son 
arrived in this part of 
Drummer Township in the 
spring of 1854 and settled on 
the land which they had 
purchased and is still owned 
by their great grandchildren. 

Mr. Jordan was born near 
Louisville, Ky. in 1828. When 
21 years of age he went to Cass 
Co., Illinois working as a farm 
hand at $18 a month until he 
had saved enough money to 
buy 100 acres of land in 
Champaign County. There he 
married Miss Amanda Devore 
and two years later sold their 
land and moved to the Ford 
Hounty land there they 
•emained until they retired 
md moved to town. 

n'/J. yidhji^i- di-^<</^'" 


Those first years were hard ones; Mrs. Jordan walking 
behind the plow, dropping seed corn in the furrow while 
carrying a baby, nor was any work on a farm an easy task for 
man or woman. 

The Jordans were the parents of five children -- William, 
James, John, Charles and Elizabeth. Many of their 
descendants still live in this area. 

Religious services were held in their home from the 
earliest days until churches were established in the village. 
Mr. Jordan set aside a plot of ground for a burying ground, 
the first in the area. Most of the graves were moved to the 
Drummer Township Cemetery after it was established in 

Large deposits of gravel were found on his land and Mr. 
Jordan opened pits and operated the largest tile and brick 
factory in the area. The tile was used near and far to drain 
the wet swampy land and the bricks were used in the building 
of the stores and houses in the town. 

Mr. and Mrs. Jordan were members of the First Christian 
Church and gave the brick used in the building of that church 
many years ago. 

SAMUEL J. LeFEVRE, a native of Ohio came with his 
parents. Dr. W. C. and Martha Jewel LeFevre to their farm 
in Drummer Township, Ford County in 18f>6. On August 13. 
1862. he enlisted as a member of Company K, 76th Regiment 
of Illinois Infantry and served as a non - commissioned of- 
ficer until near the close of the war. He received a gun - shot 
wound on the last day's fight of the war on April 9, 1865. Mr. 
LcF'cvre was married to Miss Laura A. Carver in 1866, a 
native of Norton, Mass. They were the parents of two 
daughters, Anna J. and Mary Etta. 

Mr. LcFcvre remained on the home farm until 1872 when 
he moved into the little village that had grown up in sight of 
his home, and there engaged in lumber and coal business. In 
1891 - 92 he erected an electric light plant and brought lights 
to the homes and streets of the little city. 

Mr. LeFevre served in many offices of the town and 
township - Supervisor, on the first village board, school 
trustee, school treasurer, and other important a.ssignments. 

The LeFevres gave a play ground for the children just 
north of the Methodist Church where there is a marker to 
their memory. 


JONATHAN B, LOTT was born in 1839, in Licking County, 
Ohio, and came with his parents to McLean County in 1847 
where he grew up on a farm. When the Civil War broke out, 
he, with a friend and a classmate. Joseph Fifer, who became 
the Governor of Illinois, enlisted in Company C, of the Thirty 
- third Illinois Infantry and served together throughout the 
war. They were discharged about the .same time in 1865 and 
afterward attended Illinois Wesleyan University, 

On Jan. 1, 1867 Mr. Lott was united in marriage with Miss 
Margarets. Gibson in Bloomington. In 1869, they purchased 
225 acres of land in Section 11 of Drummer township. Ford 
County, and moved there that spring Their first dwelling 
was a 12 X 14 foot boxcar that had been moved 16 miles 
across the prairie from Faxton. This was "fixed up" to live in 
while their cottage was being built. Joseph Fifer spent 
.several weeks with them that summer and said it was all 
quite comfortable with lean- tos added on the sides. 

Mr. Lott, with his brother, James, platted the village that 
first year. The map was ready for registration on Nov. 4, 
1870. He chose the name of Gibson for the village in honor of 
his wife, Margaret Gibson. 

Mr. Lott had recognized the value of transportation and 
knowing of the plans to build railroads through the area, had 
contacted many people. With the help of influential friends, 
they were able to induce the builders of the Oilman, Clinton 
and Springfield railroad to come through Mr. Lott's land and 
the Lafayette, Bloomington and Mississippi road to intersect 
it at this place. Then later, in 1874. the Paducah and Co. 
changed its route and came through the village of Gibson 
also. Mr. Lott did more in securing transportation in every 


direction for this village than many a person has done for a 
much larger city. 

He established a real estate business and did many things 
to promote the growth and welfare of the town, but lived but 
ten short years before death followed a severe illness on Sept. 
18, 1879. He was sincerely mourned by all of the townspeople. 

Mrs. Margaret Lott continued to make her home in the 
town where she was active in community and church work. 
She was fond of children and in the early days taught a large 
class of young folks in Union Hall, doing many special things 
for them. She continued to be interested in the people of the 
community as long as she lived. In 1886, she became the wife 
of Mr. O. A. Damon. She passed away in August, 1924, at the 
age of 80 years. 

EMMANUEL LOWRY, editor and proprietor of the 
Gibson Courier, became a resident of Ford County and the 
village of Gibson in 1875. He was born in Somerset! County, 
Pa. in 1837, a son of Michail and Salome (Moyer) Lowry. 
Emmanuel received his primary education in the common 
schools of his native county and then took a classical course 
in Bethany College in West Virginia. He served a regular 
apprenticeship to the printer's trade in Somerset, Pa., and 
then spent some years in teaching in the public and Normal 
schools in the county. In 1870, Mr. Lowry bought a half in- 
terest in a paper in Wadsworth. Ohio where he worked for one 
year then going to Eureka, Illinois. In 1875 he came to Gib- 
son, purchasing the "Courier" which he continued 

Mr. Lowry was united in marriage with Miss Phoebe 
Colborn at Somerset, Pa. in September, 1862. She was a 
successful teacher in the public schools of her native county 
and well fitted to be a help - mate in her husband's career. 
They were the parents of seven children, four living. Charles 
(in the Courier office), James P., John A., and RusseL 
Emmanuel Lowry died April 25, 1907; Phoebe on Oct. 15, 
1907. The Lowry sons, Charles and J. Percy, published the 
Gibson Courier for many years, merging with the Enterprise 
in 1933. They sold their interest in the newspaper to George 
Woolley and his son John in 1940. 

EVAN MATTINSON was born in 1857 in Clark County, 
Ohio, where he received his education and engaged in far- 
ming until 1880 when he came to Gibson City. He was first 
employed as a clerk in the banking house of Burwell and Co. 
In March 1885 he was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Belle 
Wilson, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Wilson. They were 
the parents of one child, Clarence. Mr. Mattinson became a 
member of Ihe banking firm of Mattinson, Wilson and Co. 
upon the retirement of Mr. Burwell and the re - organization 
of the firm. 

In 1871, JACOB C. MELLINGER, in partnership with his 
father, purchased 960 acres of land adjoining the village of 
Gibson to the north. In 1873, Mr. and Mrs. Mellinger moved to 
the village where he erected a fine house and large stables at 
the north edge of the village on the west side of Sangamon 
Ave They were natives of Lancaster County, Ohio Mr 
Mellinger engaged in extensive live stock raising and trading 
them later in farming. 

The Mellingers were the parents of two sons, Dello who 
died quite young, and Frank They also had an adopted 
daughter Louise, who became ill and died while in college. 

Mr. Mellinger was active in civic attains He was a 
directior of the Building and Loan Asswiaiion, also of the 
Gibson Land Improvement Company Wlule serving as High- 

way Commissioner, promoted the graveling of the first mile 
of road in the township. 

Mr. Mellinger deeded six acres of land to the city for a 
park, which was located one block east of his home. This was 
known then as Mellinger Park, a name long since forgotten, 
now just "North Park". He platted a few lots for sale across 
the street west of the park. When houses were built there, 
they became known as the "Silk Stocking Row". The 
Mellingers returned to Ohio in 1893. The Mellinger Pasture 
land to the north of town was the "Town Cow Pasture." 
Probably very few people living today can remember the 
days when "town people" kept a cow in a barn back of their 
houses and in the summer time hired a boy to drive the cow to 
pasture and back, from May first to late October in time for 
evening milking. That was one way for boys to earn some 
"hard to come by" pocket money in those days, and if he 
were lucky, he might get two cows to drive to pasture. The 
football field and all the new houses have long since taken 
over the "Old Cow Pasture". 

WILLIAM MOYER was the first commercial businessman 
in the village of Gibson. On December 1, 1870, in one of the 
small frame buildings south of the Illinois Central railroad 
depot. There is no biographical record of the Moyers and the 
only relative they had was a niece of Mr. Moyer's; Mrs. John 
Smith who lived on North Church Street in later years. "Mr. 
Moyer was a man of superior judgment and discretion and by 
strict attention to management in business, accumulated a 
fortune, which caused him to be recognized as the wealthiest 
man in town." 

Mr. Moyer was generous to the town where he had ac- 
cumulated his wealth and gave several substantial gifts to 
the city, including the first library at the intersection of 
Sangamon and Ninth streets. The new library still bears his 
name. He gave many other gifts to churches and charitable 
causes. Mrs. Moyer died in 1888 after which Mr. Moyer 
moved to Bloomington where he passed away Oct. 25, 1914. 

Mrs. Percy Miner < center) and her tuo daughters. Bernice (at left) 
and (vnthia look part in the promenade in downtown Gibson City 
last Saturdav afternoon. Promenades are scheduled each Saturday 
at L' p.m. Everyone in the community is urged to take part in these 
activ ities. 



Very early in the history of Gibson, a number of Negro 
people came from the Sullivant Farm of Burr Oaks, now the 
Sibley Estate. Some of them had been born in slavery, and 
nearly all had come from Tennessee to work at the Sullivant 

The circumstances of their choosing Gibson City as a 
permanent residence are interesting. Michael Sullivant, who 
purchased 40,000 acres in what is now Sullivant Township in 
186,S for $3.50 an acre, sent his farm overseer or foreman. 
John M. Miner, to Tennessee to hire Negro men to work at 
Burr Oaks, one - half mile south and east of what is now 
Sibley. II was in March. 1870, when he went on this mission 
and hired about 20 men, who came to Paxton by train, where 
he took them to a restaurant for dinner. They were then taken 
to a clothing store, where they were outfitted with warm 
clothing, underwear, shirts, pants, coats, caps, shoes, mit- 
tens, etc., for winter wear, for which they were ill equipped. 
Plans had been made to meet them by wagon at the train, 
then spend the night at a farm sleeping in a barn under heavy 
blankets, and finishing the trip the next day. The next 
morning the men were taken by the drivers with two wagons 
with four mules hitched to each one because of the mud. and 
the 20 miles to Burr Oaks were finished in this fashion, 
driving through mud and slush all the way. 

The Negro men proved efficient workers, and were 
employed on the same basis as the 2.50 white men who were 
already working at the efficiently managed Burr Oaks farm. 
Later on wives and children joined the men. and when Burr 
Oaks farm was lost in the 1875 money panic, some of them 
settled in Gibson City. They bough; small homes, sent their 
children to school, and m 1877 established a church, the 
African Methodist Episcopal, and erected their church 
building in 1879 In recent years this church has been known 
as Alexander Chapel. Rev. Aaron Ward assisted in 
organizing this church and was the first minister. 

Among those early pioneer families were Mr. and Mrs. 
William McConnell, (also referred to as McCornell) and 
those who remember them will know that he could whistle 
most musically. Their daughter. Beulah McConnell, married 
Walter Johnson of Gibson, who became an medical doctor 
and practiced in Chicago for many years. Another daughter. 
Zephie. married Pearl Johnson of Pontiac. They lived in 
Gibson City and were parents of five children, all of whom 
graduated from Gibson High School: Lois. Pearl. Jr.. Julian 
(deceased*, Wilbur and Maxine. W'ilbur served as custodian 
at the new high school for several years and now resides in 
Decatur. Maxine is a much - traveled person who sang with 
world - renowned bands and traveled around the world as 
soloist with the bands. She is presently nursing in Chicago but 
maintains her residence in Gibson City at 627 North Melvin. 

Two of the McConnell sons entered the medical profession 
and practiced in Chicago, James McConnell as a doctor and 
Charles as a dentist. 

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Green, also were early residents. P'or 
many years he was the janitor at the school. Among other of 
those early families were the Robert Huddlesons, Ged 
Rankins and George Morton families. 

A Civil War veteran was Gilbert Jordan. He worked for the 
cily and always paraded with the GAR in Memorial Day 
parades. His son Mose was a dining car steward, and son 
Benny was a veteran of World War I. 

James J. Kibble, who came to Gibson City and lived will 
Rev. Aaron Ward, was at one time janitor al Ihe school. His 
daughter. Miss .Mbcrta Kibble, still resides al 506 North 

Guthrie. S. S. Mitchell, a barber, was among those who came 
from Burr Oaks. Benjamin Thomas was also an early barber 

The Mark Anthony family was perhaps the best known. 
Mr. Anthony was a barber. He was unanimously elected to 
the office of city clerk after the village had grown in size 
considerably. He served from May 1', 1880, to April 30, 1881. 
"Aunt Millie Young" was Mrs. Anthony's mother and was a 
nurse. She was much loved. 

Page Price was a Civil War veteran. His wife, Addie Price, 
who always said she was born in slavery, was a cateress and 
much in demand. 

The Stokes and Fields families did not come to 
Gibson with the Burr Oaks people. Thomas and Sarah Stokes 
came "on their own" from Tennessee. They were parents of 
several sons and daughters, all of whom were successful and 
respected citizens. They purchased all of the "100 block" on 
North Guthrie and resided there. This block was known as 
Stokes Hill, Two of their grandsons were Thomas Fields and 
Sam Fields. Mrs. Mary Thomas Fields, wife of Sam Fields, 
still resides in the Stokes Hill block at 114 North Guthrie. 
Their son, LeRoy Fields, graduated from Gibson High School 
in 1929. attended the University of Illinois, and graduated 
from Bradley University. He is teaching Special Education in 
Elgin and resides in Chicago. 

Tommyetta Stokes, aunt of Thomas and Sam Fields, was 
the first Negro graduate of Gibson City High School. She 
graduated from nursing school and was supervisor of 
Providence Hospital in Chicago. She later married Rev. 
Beckman of Springfield. 

The George Fields family came from Bloomington. George 
"Turk" Fields met and married Laura Stokes in Pontiac. 
and from there they came to Gibson City. They were parents 
of nine children. Mr. Fields followed the trade of drayman. 
He conducted a lunch stand al the canning company during 
canning season and was known as an excellent cook. In 
October, 1880, he was involved in an accident at the 
Eggleston andSpaulding tile factory, which claimed the lives 
of two other workmen. This factory was located in the west 
part of town near Ihe junction of the then Lake Erie, Western, 
and Wabash railroads. Fortunately. Mr. Fields escaped 
serious injury. 

Two of the well - remembered citizens of Gibson 
City who were children of the George Fields were Thomas 
and Sam Fields. Thomas worked as custodian at the First 
National Bank for 31 years and in the old Building and Loan 
for 20 years. He and his wife. Cora Burris Fields, lived in Ihe 
same house on Lott Boulevard all of their married life, where 
Mrs. Fields still resides at 309 South Lott. She was the 
granddaughter of Solomon Fowler, who lived on a farm for 
many years on Ihe Sibley Estate. 

Sam Fields was a mason. He built many of the business 
houses as well as dwellings in Gibson City and was the mason 
for the present Lamb Funeral Home, 

Thomas and Sam Fields had a brother. William Fields, 
who graduated from Gibson High School and was a dentist 
for many years in Chicago. 

As shown in this factual account of the early Negroes of 
Gibson City, they contributed to Ihe spiritual, cultural, 
social, business, and industrial growth in the early days of 
the town. Their good citizenship has enriched Ihe life of 
Gibson, leaving happy memories in Ihe minds of many of the 
present older residents of Gibson who knew them personally 
and remember Ihem with affection. 


40- ^ 

S.WU'KI. P. RADY , pioneer lawyer, was born in New 
Albany, Ind in 1853. His parents died when he was a small 
child He was reared by an older brother and received his 
education in the local schools, then attended law college in 

He arrived in Gibson City in September of 1881 and served 
as superintendent of the schools for one year before opening 
his law office, which he shared with Link Phillips for a few 
years Later he moved into his own office over the First 
National Bank where he maintained an office until his death 
in lOOfi His wife died in 1957. Mr. Rady was united in 
marriage with Miss Lillian L. Palmer Oct. 13, 1885 in North 
Hillsdale, N Y Their first home was at 608 East 13th St. in 
Gibson City. There were the parents of three children, Chloe, 
Ivy and Samuel. Their daughter Chloe, assisted her father in 
his law office from early teen - age. She and Samuel still 
reside in Gibson. 

In 1900 Mr Rady purchased 40 acres of land from J. D. 
Mellinger that lay between Melvin and Church streets and 
15th and 19th streets and planned a new addition for the town 
lo be called "College Hill." In 1903 this land was surveyed 
and streets were constructed. In 1905 cement sidewalks were 
laid and trees planted along each street. Lots were for sale in 
the new addition. 

When it became necessary to build a new high school, Mr. 
Rady deeded Block 8 in the College Hill Addition to Drum- 
mer Township High School for a site for the high school which 
was completed in 1914. 

JOHN At)AlVlS ROCKWOOD lived in LaSalle Co., Illinois 
until I8ti3 when he moved his family to Normal, Illinois. In 
IH72 I hey sold their home there and moved to a farm in 
Drummer Township, later moving to the village. The Rock- 
woods were the parents of three children, Lewis, Ralph, 
Gertrude (wife nf William McKeever) and an adopted 
daughter, Mamie, who married Walter Mottier. 

I.KWIS ROCKWOOD received his education in the schools 
al Normal and taughl school before entering the employ of 
Ihe Maltinson, Wilson and Co. banking firm where he 
achieved the position of cashier. He was twice married, first 
loMissFlorenceMoffett in 1884 inPaxton. ShediedNov. 1 in 
1885 and on May 9, 1889, he married Miss Ida Baerd and to 
Ihcm was born one son Roscoe in 1890. 

DR. TALBERT B. STRAUSS was born in Wayne Co., Ohio 
Nov. 6, 1845 and received his high school education in 
Fredericksburg. He enlisted in Company D of the 120th. 
Infantry and engaged in the battle of Vicksburg. 

In 1864 he moved to Paxton, Illinois and studied under Dr. 
J. M. Waters, formerly of Gibson. After three years of 

private study he entered Rush Medical College, was licensed 
in 1878 and located in Gibson. 

In 1869 Dr. Strauss married Miss Anna George to whom 
two sons were born. Vernon and Bryson. In 1872 the mother 
died and in 1878 Dr. Strauss was wed to Sarah E. McKcevei-. 
They were the parents ot three children, Ethel M., Elizabeth 
W.'and Charles E 

MICHAKI. SfLLIVANT began the operation of his 42.600 
acre farm in 1866 with headquarters at Burr Oaks. 10 miles 
north of where the future village of Gibson would he located. 
There were at times as many as 300 men employed at this 
farm, some of them having families. 

This farm was nationally known as the "largest corn farm 
in the world". Before the Chicago and Paducah railroad was 
constructed through the big farm this corn crop was hauled 
to the railroads in Gibson and shipped to market in the east, 
also some to Chicago. 

There was a great demand for the prairie hay which was 
baled at the farm and hauled lo the east - bound trains. 
During the haying season as many as 30 carloads a week 
would be shipped This meant much to business in the village. 

Several of the people living at Burr Oaks established 
homes in Gibson City or on farms near by after that farm was 
taken over by Hiram Sibley. 

NELSON B. TYLER was one of the early merchants of 
Gibson, having come to the village in the summer of 1872 and 
opening a grocery store on the "north end" of the main 

He was born in Lake County, Illinois, but went with his 
parents to their old home in New York State when he was 
three years old, returning to Illinois in 1864. When less than 20 
years of age he came to the village of Gibson and opened a 
grocery store in the "north end", later putting in a stock of 
general merchandise. Mr. Tyler continued in this occupation 
until 1885 when he became a salesman for a prominent 
Chicago firm. 

Mr. Tyler was married in 1897 to Miss Lottis R. Palmer in 
North Hillsdale, a native of New York State. They were the 
parents of two daughters, Charlotte and Florence. (Mrs. 
Florence Tyler Rich, who still resides in the city. ) 

.lAMES H. WHITE, a pioneer grocer, who continued in 
business in the same location for a quarter of a century, was 
born in Scotland in 1858. The family immigrated to the United 
States of America in 1865 and settled in Pennsylvania. He 
went to work in a twine factory in Xenia, Ohio in 1875, then 
came to Gibson in 1879 where he opened a small grocery store 
and continued in the business until his death. He was a 
progressive businessman and citizen. In 1880 Mr. White 
married Miss Rachael Thompson of Xenia, Ohio. They were 
the parents of two daughters. Maud Ellen and Ethel .Agnes. 

DR. THOMAS R. WILEY, a pioneer physician and surgeon 
of Gibson City, was born near Colfax in McLean Co.. Illinois. 
His father, Lyttle R. Wiley was a native of Kentucky and his 
mother was from Indiana. They came to Illinois in 1840, 

Thomas Wiley was reared on the farm and after finishing 
preparatory school, took a full college course at Illinois 
Wesleyan University, graduating with the class of 1871. He 
then began the study of medicine with Dr. Hill of 
Bloomington and later took a course of lectures at the 
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. His next affiliation was 
with Rush Medical College in Chicago graduating with the 
class of 1874. In March of 1874, Dr. Wiley established a 
practice in Gibson City which he continued with marked 
success. In June 1874 he married Miss Mattie E. Reeves of 
LeRoy, Illinois. Dr. and Mrs. Wiley were the parents of one 
child, Beulah Belle. The doctor filled various official offices - 


President of Village Board, school board. Building and Loan 
A.ssociation. and other responsible positions and was also 
active in church and community affairs. (Beulah Wiley 
married Dr. Frank Hunt, a veterinarian.) Many of the 
Wiley's descendants reside in the community. 

WIIJ-IAM J. WILSON a native of Clark County, Ohio. 

received his education in the schools of that state and there 
married Miss Lydia Goodfellow in 1863. He engaged in far- 
ming. In 1876 they moved to Gibson City where Mr Wilson 
was in the grain business until his elevator burned He then 
joined the banking firm of his brother - in - law. M. T Bur- 
well. He also was an extensive land - owner in the area and 
had business interests in other institutions. Mr. and Mrs. 
Wilson were the parents of ten children. 

GEORGE W. WOOD, pioneer carpenter in Gibson was born 
in Bloomington, Ind. in 1847 and came to Illinois when a 
young man where he engaged in farming near Colfax until 
1872. He then came to the village of Gibson. From that time 
he followed the carpenter trade until his death in 1942. 

He was the only carpenter who could claim the distinction 
of working on every church that was built in the town during 
his lifetime, beginning with the Methodist Church in 1872. 
This church was destroyed by fire in February 1888. Mr. 
Wood then helped build the second Methodist Church anH the 
present one which was dedicated in 1914. 

He also assisted in the building of many of the older houses 
and building establishments in the town. 

Mr. Wood was one of the pall - bearers for the burial of Mrs. 
Bowker, the first person to be buried in Drummer Township 
Cemetery in 1876. 

Mr. Wood was married to Louisa DuBois. They were the 
parents of two daughters, the elder died in infancy. Etta, 
aged 90, lives at 805 East Jefferson St., Bloomington, 111. She 
walks five blocks to attend Wesley Methodist Church. Mrs. 
Wood died Dec. 1889; Mr. Wood in Dec. 1914. 


Poterson Greenhouse and Residence, Gibson City, lU. 

THK l{. C. I\\. (illtSON ( ITV. IIXIXOIS — I'.A.AIOIS lOK <;<M)I) K<)«H> 

>-, ' ■»-^ "■"-..... 






Gibson City, Illinois 


The Central Soya story began Oct. 2, 1934, when - in the 
midst of a depression -- Dale W. McMillen at the age of 54 
incorporated the Central Soya Company to process soybeans 
for oil and meal. 

On Dec. 8, 1934, the first shipment of soybean oil was made 
from the small plant in which the company operated in 
Decatur, Indiana. On January 23. 1935, McMillen Feed Mills, 
which had been incorporated as the feed division of Central 
Soya, received its first order for feed -- 46,350 pounds of 
mixed feed. . . . "Master Mixing Feed - 30 percent molasses." 

From this small beginning, the company grew rapidly and 
by mid - summer of 1939 plans were completed for the con- 
struction of soybean processing, feed manufacturing and 
grain storage facilities at Gibson City, Illinois. 

Construction began in August, 1939, and was completed in 
October of that year. 

Only 28 people were on the payroll when the plant opened. 
It was their job to operate a facility that included 10 concrete 
silos with a storage capacity of a million bushels, a then - 
modern feed mill with a production capacity of 4,000 Ions of 
feed per month, and an expeller - type soybean processing 
operation with a 5,000 bushel processing capacity per day. 

The little company continued to grow and by (he end of 1942 
soybean processing capacity at Gibson City was increased to 
10.000 bushels per day, while storage capacity had nearly 
doubled lo 1,900,000 bushels. 

By 1945 an average of 233 persons were employed at the 
Gibson City plant and the annual payroll was estimated at 
$400,000. By 1949, further expansion of storage capacity had 
increased total storage to more than six million bushels and 
employment had climbed to 260 persons. 

Tcxlay. storage capacity at Gibson City is 6'^ million 
bushels, soybean processing capacity has reached 27,500 
bushels per day. and the feed mill has a rated capacity for its 
two continuous feed lines of an 800 tons per eight - hour day. 

Approximately 250 people are now employed at the Gibson 
City plant and the annual payroll is just under two million 

The growth of the Gibson City plant is typical of other 
phases of Central Soya and McMillen Feed Mills operations. 

A number of other plants have been acquired or built, and 

warehouses and grain merchandising facilities serv( 

A marine department operates a fleet of jumbo rive 
barges for transporting soybeans, grains and other fee( 
ingredients on the inland waterway system. 

Over the years the company's operations have beei 
greatly diversified. 

Ppler .Schertz and son .lesso operated the above 
business from IIKIT to l!l-.'i. Ilenr> llafipr purchased the 
lumber yard in I!IL'.">. and was later joined by sons 
Douglas and Jim in the l^.sn's. 

This page sponsored by 
Central Soya 




•.. M 





The telephone was a bit late in coming to Gibson City. 

Located in the heartland of Illinois corn country, at a 
considerable distance by horse - and - buggy from any of the 
state's larger cities, Gibson City folks soon realized that if 
they ever hoped to sec one of those new - fangled talking 
instruments, they would have to take the initiative in 
sparking the interest of local entrepreneurs and pulling 
together some financial backing of their own. 

Even so. it was only 20 years or so after the Alexander 
Graham Bell invention that the first private venture got 

George Schlosser, a local man, set up the first switchboard 
in 1898 and began selling telephone service. The operation, 
known as the Central Telephone and Telegraph Co., appears 
to have been a partnership involving both Gibson City and 
nearby Paxton. 

Schlosser's partner on the Paxton end was a Mr. Lankford. 
But for one reason or another, the two men decided to 
dissolve their partnership after two years. Schlosser retained 
Gibson City and Lankford continued to operate in Paxton. 

Despite the split, the prospects for a profitable business 
must have been highly encouraging. In 1901, Schlosser talked 
two other men -- A. L. Phillips and H. A. Ball -- into joining his 
enterprise and they capitalized a new company at $12,000. a 
handsome sum in those days. Appropriately enough, they 
chose the name Gibson City Telephone Co. 
Within a year the new company built a two - story and 
basement building at the corner of Eighth and Church Streets 
to house their growing business. The building would serve as 
the community telephone office for the next 60 years. 

Even back in those days telephone companies required 
large amounts of capital for construction of new facilities. As 
new money came into the business, companies reorganized 
and names were changed, ."^nd so it was with Gibson City. 

A few months after movmg into the new telephone office, 
the company changed its name to Granger's Mutual 
Telephone Co., apparently representing a financial in- 
vestment and share in control of management by Paxton . 

Before another year had passed the name was changed 
once again -- to the Gibson Home Telephone Co. -- and the 
surviving organization was capitalized at $25,000. With new 
money in the till, Gibson Home purchased the entire com- 
munity exchange from the Paxton Telephone and Telegraph 
Co. And for the first time Gibson City residents were no 
longer faced with the expense of having to order telephones 
from each company in order to call all telephones in the 

In the early days the Home company was managed by 
Schlosser under a license granted by Chicago's Central 
Union Telephone Co.. the operating company which held the 
Bell telephone patent. 

The arrangement with Central Union permitted Gibson 
City customers to use the Bell System long distance Imes, 
thus saving the local company the prohibitive costs of 
building a separate toll network. 

Telephone service apparently left considerable room for 
improvement. In 1909, The Mssrs. D. A. Taylor, W. E. Crowe 
and W. E. Day, all of Gibson City, formed the Drummers 
Telephone Co. and entered into direct competition with the 
Home company. 

Old newspaper clippings indicate the company was 
comprised primarily of local farmers who were dissatisfied 
with the Home service. 

The Drummers company negotiated a franchise with the 

Gibson City city council which provided for free calls on all 
lines constructed within 15 miles of the city. The free calling 
area included the communities of Fisher, Foosland. 
Bellflower, Saybrook, Sibley, Melvin, Guthrie and Elliott. 

The telephone business was highly competitive in the early 
1900s, and once the novelty of the invention faded new 
business was hard to come by. Adopting a more aggressive 
stance, Chicago's Central Union transferred J. F. Stephens 
from its Springfield district to manage the Gibson City 

Stephens would serve as manager for nearly 30 years and, 
as much as any one man, is credited with extending and 
expanding the telephone network that formed the basis for 
the system serving Gibson City today. 

Stephens had been a construction crew boss. Ahead lay the 
job of building the hundreds of miles of cable, wire and poles 
that made up a telephone network. Characteristically, 
Stephens didn't lose any time in getting down to business. 

To help finance the construction program Sephens in- 
creased rates from $2 a month to $2.50. and boosted the local 
company's capitalization to $50,000. 

While monthly rates were about one - third of today's 
charge, customers could only reach about one - fiftieth of the 
telephones accessible now. 

Telephone business progressed at a slow but measured 
pace over the next 10 years. In 1916, the number of Home 
Telephone customers stood at 850. The Drummers company 
appears to have hit on hard times, however, the folded. 

Illinois Bell began its long association with Gibson City in 
1924 with purchase of the assets of the Gibson Home Com- 
pany. Records show the Home company operated 744 
telephones, and provided service to another 46 owned by 

The February. 1925 issue of Illinois Bell Magazine, in in- 
troducing the Gibson City exchange to employees, described 
the community in these words: 

"Gibson City is one of those 'downstate' towns that has 
energy enough for a city twice its size. But none too much for 
Gibson. They know how to use it." 

The words turned out to be prophetic. Three months after 
Illinois Bell assumed control, one of the worst sleet storms in 
modem historv' struck central Illinois, toppling thousands of 
telephone poles and virtually isolating Gibson City from 
communication with the rest of the world. 

Manager Stephens soon discovered just how much energy 
there was in Gibson City. 

In a matter of hours he drew together an emergency force 
of 40 line - man and rented a number of automobiles to get the 
men out into the field. 

Poles and lines were down as far away as Bloomington and 
Chenoa. Despite 16 hour work days and a repair force many 
times over the normal complement of men. it would be 
nearly a week before local service was restored. Long 
distance service wasn't fully restored until mid - summer 

So much fol the early years of "the coming of the telephone 
to Gibson City." 

The last half - century has been one of orderly growth and 
technological innovation. 

Crank - type wooden telephones began disappearing in the 
1930s. More switching equipment was added to handle growth 
in the post - Word War II years and the community converted 
to local and long distance direct dialing in 1960. Early this 
year Touch - Tone calling was introduced. 

Much of the credit for Gibson City's emergence from 
"horse - and - buggy" telephone days to a modern 1970s 

This page sponsored by 
Hunt Insurance Agency, Corn Belt Hatcheries of Illinois, Inc./ Stokely Van 
Camp, Inc., and I and B Inn 


system belongs to W. M "Sparky" Stiead, a life - long 
resident and Illinois Bell's manager here for 20 years. 

Sparky and his predecessor. J. F Sephenson, stand out as 
the two most influential men in Gibson City telephone 
history. Stephenson brought the telephone through its early 
development; Snead picked up where Stepher.son left off and 
forged the system serving the community today. 

What do the next 50 years hold'.' The only limit is the stretch 

of the imaguination. Illinois Bell, looking ahead a scant 15 
years, confidentally forsees Gibson City with see ■ as - you - 
talk Picturephone and direct distance dialing around the 
world with calls carried via satellites. Everyday business, 
such as banking and grocery shopping, will be done by Touch 
- Tone telephone and computers. 
After that, it's anyone's guess! 

t f 



:"^ , 

i«* **-» 


DeVVall Seed and Implement Co. now The Corn Belt 

Early Businesses 

Former Bryant's Drug Store 


This page sponsored by 
First National Bank in Paxton 


Two-Time Winner of 'Outstanding Illinois Weekly' Award 

The present Gibson City Courier is a descendant of two 
early newspapers, The Gibson Courier and The Gibson City 
Enterprise, which were merged in 1934. 

The Courier was founded in May 1872 by N. E. Stevens of 
Paxton. HesoiditNov. 1, 1873. to Walter Hoge. who published 
the newspaper only a short time before he. in turn, sold it to 
Emanuel Lowry. who moved here from Eureka and took 
possession March 1. 1875. 

E. Lowry, as the publisher and editor referred to himself in 
the masthead, was active for 25 years. Then The Courier 
passed on to brothers C, E. and J. P. Lowry, Emanuel's sons, 
who jointly published the newspaper for 35 years. 

The Enterprise was founded in 1883 by P. A. Coal, well 
known in Republican circles throughout the state, and at one 
time postmaster of Gibson City. During the Nineties, Coal 
published a daily edition, which was finally discontinued, and 
the newspaper reverted to weekly publication, because the 
town wasn't large enough to support a daily paper. 

In 1904 the Enterprise was purchased by Woolley Brothers 
of Saybrook, and George A. Woolley assumed active direc- 
tion by moving here, and remaining its head for thirty years. 
About 1924 George bought out his brothers and became sole 
owner His son. John, grew up in the business and joined his 
father as an assistant after he graduated from Drummer 
Township High School. 

The two newspapers were merged on Saturday, May 12, 

1934. and the first combined issued was published May 17 of 
that year, as "The Gibson Courier and Gibson City En- 

The two printing plants were combined, and mailing lists 
merged, with a total circulation at that time of 2,025. George 
Woolley acquired stock in the Gibson Courier Printing 
Company, and with his son John joined the organization with 
C. E. and J. P. Lowry. 

Later John Woolley assumed the ownership. 

On Nov. 1. 1949. John Woolley sold the newspaper, known 
as The Gibson City Courier, to Verle V. Kramer, then of 
Warsaw. 111., and his two sons, Donovan and David. At that 
time the Kramers owned the Fairbury Blade and Forrest 
News, and Donovan was in active charge of that operation. 
Verle sold his Warsaw Bulletin and moved to Gibson City to 
lake charge of the Courier. In the early 1960s the Fairbury 
and Forrest newspapers were sold, and Donovan bought a 
newspaper in Casa Grande. Ariz. His interest as a partner 
was acquired by Verle and David Kramer, who operated as a 
partnership until the death of Verle Kramer Nov. 3. 1968. At 
that time, and now the Kramers published newspapers in 
Saybrook. Colfax. LeRoy, Chenoa and Lexington, and the two 
Monticello newspapers, merged as the Piatt County Journal - 

Kramer Publishing Company is a partnership operation, 
with Mrs. Verle Kramer and David Kramer as the owners. 
The Bement Register was acquired in 1970. 


This page sponsored by 
Kramer Publishing Co. 



fJibson Federal Savings and Loan Association was founded 
.June 18, 188:1. 88 years ago It was organized by ten pioneer 
businessmen, T. D, SpaFding was the first President and L, E, 
Ki>tkwor)d was the first Secretary. The nanne of Gibson 
Savings and Building Association was chosen and was 
organized under a State Charter, In 1936 the association was 
chiinged to a Federal Charter and the name was changed to 
(Jibson Federal Savings and Loan Association, The office 
ihen was located at 127 N, Sangamon which is now part of the 
Ace Hardware Store, In September. 1960. we moved into our 
new building located at 402 N. Sangamon. We have enjoyed a 
very good business and as of now our assets are over 35 


"Old Timers" in the Gibson City area may recall the 
beautiful team pictured here - and some may even remember 
their names as "Doc" and "George". This represents a small 
part of the equipment that has been used through the years 
by W.S Lamb & Co. in serving Gibson City. 

W S. Lamb came to our town in 1887, and became a fur- 
niture merchant. "Undertaking" was a specialty sideline in 
those days After his death in 1917, the business was con- 
tinued by his son Shum Lamb, and it was he who built the 
present funeral home in 1937 Following World War II, the 
third generation of Lamb Funeral Service continued with the 
management of Jack and Wally Lamb. 

We are still grateful that Grandfather found such a good 
town as Gibson City to establish his business - and we pledge 
continuing good service to those that call on us in their time 
of need. 

Wally Lamb 

Bob Deener 

Earl Young 

Miss Lelia Gender 




The original beginning of the First National Bank and 
Trust Company in Gibson City, Gibson City, Illinois, a 
leading institution, was in the year 1867. 

Old newspapers and reports, no longer available, show that 
A. J. Montelius entered into the private banking busmess in 
Piper City, Illinois, in conjunction with another enterprise. 

At some future date, (actual date unknowm, this banking 
company was chartered as a State Bank. 

In 1900, under new ownership. National BanK Charter No. 
,5322 was awarded, and the title was changed to the "First 
National Bank of Piper City". 

In the 1941 the old "First National Bank of Gibson City" 
was liquidated and the First National Bank of Piper City, 
under Charter No. 5322, was moved to Gibson City, and the 
name changed to "First National Bank in Gibson City". 

In June 1959 the bank moved from 134 North Sangamon 
Avenue, to its present location at 119 North Church Street, in 
Gibson City. 

Under this title the bank flourished and grew with the 
community until June 1968, when the present management 
applied for and received a change in title to "First National 
Bank and Trust Company in Gibson City". 

This page sponsored by 
Gibson Federal Savings and Loan Association, Gibson City, Illinois 



Nearly 25 years ago, Elmo Meiners. an Anchor. Illinois 
farmer, got tired of nursing his tractors through a hard day's 
work. He and a friend converted an abandoned school house 
into a shop and pioneered an overdrive transmission that 
would give his tractor four more field speeds. The results 
were so good that neighbors and friends began clamoring for 
a gear set for their tractors. 

In 1949, the M & W Gear Company was organized. Until 
1951, operations continued in the old school building about 
four miles southeast of Anchor. The company then moved 
into Anchor where its headquarters remained until 1966. 

M & W made its first appearance in Gibson City in August, 
1956 with the acquistion of the Monnie Wagonseller garage at 
523 S. Sangamon. M & W's first manufacturing operations 
started there. In 1964, work began on the present plant on an 
80 acre tract at the south edge of Gibson City. In Sept., 1965. 
the nearly completed plant was hit by a tornado that delayed 
occupancy for six months. It was March. 1966 before M & W 
completed the move into its new quarters. In the next four 
years, the original officeand factory structure increased to a 
complex of nine modern buildings with a total floor space of 
oyer 200,000 square feet. 

M & W's entry into large scale manufacturing was 
simultaneous w^ith the move into its new plant. Previously, M 
& W had concentrated on "after - market" products; ac- 
cessories designed to improve the performance or cut the 
cost of operating farm equipment manufactured by other 
companies. Prominent among these were pistons and 
sleeves, turbochargers and dual wheels for tractors; an 
automatic header control for combines and an improved 
rolling coulter assembly for plows. Now. the M & W Little 
Red Wagon is probably the best known farm wagon, the M & 
W Perfect Kern'l Dryer, the most advanced grain dryer. M & 
W is now in the process of introducing its own heavy duty, 
automatic hydraulic reset plow. 

The board of directors is made up of Elmo Meiners, 
pres.; La Verne Meiners, vice-pres.; J. C. Ertel III of 
Indianapolis, secretary - treasurer and J. P. Hawkins, 
assistant secretary. In addition to the main office and plant 
at Gibson City, the company also has offices and warehouses 
at Memphis. Tenn. and Des Moines, Iowa. 

Present employment is 230. 

This page sponsored by 
M & W Gear Company 



The Gibson Iron Works was incorporated July 12. 1893 for 
the period of 20 vears; for the purpose of manufacturing Iron 
Novelties. Hot Water Radiators. Castings of Gray Iron; 
general foundry and machine business. 

The capital stock of this corporation was S.iO.OOO; 500 
shares at SlOO per share. There was a board of 5 Directors 
who were elected by the stockholders at the annual meeting 
for the term of 2 vears They received SI. 00 for each regular 
meeting attended. President T R. Wiley. E. H Harry. 
Secretary. J. W. Haines. R. A. McClure. J. D. Mellinger The 
machine shop was built this year and the first shipment of 
machinerv was made January 1. 1894 and 60 days was given 
for payment to be made. On October 25. 1895 J. D. Mellinger 
was elected President. J W Haines. Vice Pres.. Al Phillips. 
Treas.. E H. Harry. Secretary. R. A. McClure. Director. 

Aprii 9. 1901 there were 24 stockholders and 7 board 
members. In 1905 the plant was offered for sale for the sum of 
S20.000 or rent for $1200 yearly rent. But no deal was made. 
Bv 1912 things were looking up a little and a dividend of S2.00 
per share was declared; in 1918 things were still better; they 
raised salaries and declared an $8.00 per share dividend. 

In 1920 the Gibson Iron Works was sold to J. T. Reedy and 
John V. Anderson. Chicago. New officers being J. T. Reedy. 
President. John V. Anderson. Vice Pres.. James Hutchings, 
Treas. and Secretary. They carried on the same type of 
business as the original owners. His son Stewart Anderson 
worked in the foundry for some time and learned the trade. 
The depression came along and in the early thirties the 
Gibson Iron Works went out of business. 

John V. Anderson then opened a small machine shop of his 
own and operated it until sometime in 1956 when he was 
forced to retire because of ill health. 

Dr. W. D. Hoover 

and daughter (now Mrs. Sibyl 



frr>0- ■'L; i 


The Cit>^ of Gibson was late in attracting attorneys in as 
much as it was not the county seat of Ford County. The first 
attorney to open a law office in Gibson was C. H. Yoemans 
who began his practice in July of 1871. Mr. Yoemans was also 
the first city attorney. He was joined in 1883 by A. L. Phillips. 
Mr. Yoemans left the practice in 1884. 

Mr. Phillips was elected States Attorney April 1. 1892 and 
served two years. He also served one year in the State 
Legislature. Mr. Phillips practiced alone until he was joined 
by Claude M. Swanson in 1916. Mr. Swanson was inducted 
into service and later when he returned from service opened 
an office in Paxton. In January of 1913 0. R. Middleton and 
Frank Shawl, fresh from law school, also opened an office in 
this city. Frank Shawl later left and O. R. Middleton prac- 
ticed alone until he joined A. L. Phillips after Mr. Swansons 
departure to service. Mr. Phillips retired and O. R. Mid- 
dleton practiced alone until joined by Sibyl H. Middleton in 
1930. The office later became known as Middleton & Mid- 
dleton and has since been joined by William S. Middleton in 
1939 and Margaret R. Middleton in 1961. 

In 1883 Samuel P. Rady opened an office and practiced 
until his death. Sometime in the 1890's L. A. Cranston opened 
a law office and was active in practice until he moved to 
Danville in 1907. 

July 1, 1933, Lindley. Pacey and Johnson estaonsnea an 
office in Gibson City. The office remained until November 23. 
1941 . when it became known as Lindley. Pacey & Pacey. 

It remained this way until June 29. 1944. at the death of Mr. 
Lindley. Office then closed completely in Gibson Citv. 

Of the later attorneys Judge Frank Lindley of Lindley, 
Pacey and Johnson of Paxton. Illinois, opened an office after 
his retirement from the bench and practiced in Gibson City 
until his death in 1944. 

In early 1945 Charles E. Carnahan opened a law office and 
had an active practice until his death. In 1946 E P. Sawyer 
also opened an office and practiced until his death. The latest 
office this city has now has been opened by Arthur R. Benz. 


This page sponsored by 
Henry Hager Lumber Company 

J. B. Palmer (irocerv Store in 1^1" The site is now 
Cornie's Shoe Store. 

Barkow's General Store \r. I'^i:;. The store was located 
on the northwest corner of sth St. and Sangamon, the 
present location of Coast to Coast south half'. Pic- 
tured left to risiht are Mrs Freddie Rarkow. >la(thew 
Barkow. Tomm\ Barr and Lester Torrenoe. 


fc.OmA*^*^. ^^-JiS^ JIl. rk^-\t«^.* tmA^ar^ 

Spaulding Lumber 

The Kair 

This page sponsored by 
G & W Supermarket, Van's Photo Supplies and Van's Insurance Agency 


Iliinl's (olisj-iim was moved by Khodeses in the full of lli:!(i (o the location of the former 
Kentland I)air\ (just south of KiA). 


About 1890 J. S. Rhodes and family moved to Gibson City 
from LeRoy, 111. Soon Mr. Rhodes became engaged in the 
house moving business. A short time later he took on a 
partner in the business, Sid Simmons. They had horses, 
mules and early in their history, had a team of oxen to do the 
pulling jobs. 

In 1904 after J. W. Rhodes came back from the Spanish - 
American War, he spent 2 years in Kansas City, Mo. moving 
and raising buildings. He sold out and came back to Gibson 
City. In 1906, J. W. Rhodes bought out his father and his 

partner and started in business for himself. 

In 1946, J. W. retired from active business and turned the 
work over to his two sons, Virgil J. Rhodes and Harold W. 
Rhodes who are still active in the work. 

Both Virgil and Harold have sons who have done this work 
and grandsons who are still in high school that have helped 
through the summer at the work of raising and moving 

This makes five generations of the Rhodes family that have 
been house movers. 

■*•.'.. .:- t^rfjr 

■'-.A _ 

This page sponsored by 
Shaffer Spring Co., Schockeys Dept. Store, Perfect Potato Chips, Inc., and 
Wrenn's Sunnyacre Farms, Inc. 


lUelcome to 

Rich Soil Strong Industry 

















( ITY 
I Note: Many layers of dust were removed from records to i Margaret) Anderson. City Clerk, for the hours she spent 

uncover the items below regarding the early history of the 
\lllage of (iibson. A special thanks to Mrs. .Stewart 

In 1869 the town site was purchased by Civil War veteran 
.Jdnalhan B Lolt from Jesse B. Whitehead of Chicago. The 
land was surveyed in February 18/0 for a mile square. 

Mr. Lott built his home here and Gibson City had its in- 
ception. Lott's wife, the former Marearet A Gibson, whom 
he married in 18fi7, was remembered by her husband when 
the town was named "Gibson". In making application for a 
post office in that name, the department added the word 
"City" to the original name because of the confusion with the 
town of Gilson, III. 

The village was incorporated in 1872 T. D. Spalding. J H. 
Collier, S. J. LeFevre. Bruce McCormick and W. T. Kerr 
were trustees, with Spalding serving as president. Later, 
Spalding served as the city's first mayor. 

The trustees were sworn in on June 10, 1872 by Bruce 
McCormick, Justice of the Peace In the minutes of the 
meeting, S J LeFevre moved that the corporate limits of 
Gibson would Include all of Section 11, Town 23, Range 7, 
East of the 3rd Principal Meridian, Ford County, 111. 

LeFevre was elected treasurer; Milton D. Worrell, con- 
stable, street supervisor and town collector. 

At that meeting, A. S. Guthrie was authorized to contract 
for having Sangamon Ave graded up for a distance of one - 
half mile south of Gibson A committee of two. Collier and 
.McCormick, were appointed to establish rates of licenses and 
decide what businesses should be licensed. 

License fees for a year were established as follows, livery 
stable, $20; drayman, $5; billiard hall, $20; and butchers, $10. 

A tax of $1 per head was assessed on all owners of dogs. A 
new dog would be taxed $2. 

JUNE 1872 - What was then known as Third St. was 
scheduled for grading 2'^ blocks east from what was then 
Erie St. and two culverts installed. A poll tax of $2 per day for 
three days was levied. Compensation for draymen hauling 
within the corporate limited was set at 25 cents per load. 

The street commissioner's salary was fixed at $2.50 per 
day worked. Licenses for shows were $5 and each side show 
$3 each for 2 shows each; auctioneer's license was $10 a year; 
peddlers $2 for two weeks or $3 for one month and $2 a month 

The first wooden sidewalks were built in 1872. They were 
constructed of one inch lumber with three stringers 2x6 inch, 
one foot wide and running lengthwise and were 18 inches off 
the ground. 

Application was made for the first beer license on July 8, 
1872. No action was taken by the trustees. 

The first sidewalk ordinance was adopted July 23, 1872. 
Another ordinance adopted the same date prohibitied trains 
blocking railroad crossings for more than 15 minutes at any 
one time, (note: Later amended to five minutes.) 

JULY 29, 1872 - A petition was presented by 32 voters 
requesting the president and board to call an election for the 
purpose of voting for or against incorporation under the act 
of the Legislation approved April 19, 1872. The election was 
posted for August 19, 1872, to be held at Ring and Collier 
Hardware Store. Twenty - five votes were cast in the election. 
All voted for incorporation. 

In other action on July 29, 1872, a license and ordinance 

doing the research.) 

was adopted granting drug stores and druggists licenses "to 
sell liquors for medicinal and sacramental purposes on the 
prescription of a regarded practicing physician." They were 
required to keep a register of such prescriptions. Violaters 
would be fined $25 and imprisoned until such time as fine 
was paid i not to exceed 6 months for any one violation). 

Dogs running loose presented a problem then as they do 
now lOtf years later. A motion was made and adopted that all 
dogs found running at large within the corporate limits 
without being muzzled "are hereby declared a nuisance and 
that any person finding such dogs running at large be 
authorized to kill them." 

Charles H. Yeomans was employed as corporation at- 
torney August 19, 1872. In other action, a bill for digging the 
first well was presented for $17 - but trustees would only 
allow $15. 

ORDINANCE NO. 1 of the city was for sidewalk con- 

AUGUST 28, 1872 - The amount of $500 was set for general 
taxation for village purposes. (Note: By 1878, the tax levy 
was $8000.) 

IN 1873, the poll tax was raised to $4 for three days work. 

The clerk's salary was $50 a year if ordinances were 
published - $70 if they were written and posted. The street 
commissioner got $2.50 per day. His duties included in- 
specting all chimneys and flues in the village and order such 
repai red if needed as well as remove all combustible rubbish. 

Committees were named for Fire and Water, Streets and 
Alleys, as well as a Fire Marshall back in those days - just as 

we do now. 

The problems of sidewalks seemed to come up at almost 
every meeting. Each person had to apply for a permit to 
construct a walk by his home or place of business. Each was 
acted on by the trustees. 

IN 1874 the clerk's salary was lowered to $40 a year. The 
street commissioner's salary was reduced to $2 per day. 
Clerks and judges at elections received $2. C. H. Yeomans, 
city attorney, received one - half the fines collected as his 
pay. That year the city had a street scraper constructed. The 
appropriation ordinance was $1300. A tax of $1200 was levied 
on the town. 

AN ORDINANCE was passed prohibiting firecrackers. 

IN 1875 - the poll tax was $3 for three days work. All people 
conducting a permanent business were required to pay a 
license fee fixed by the trustees. An ordinance was passed 
August 2, 1875, closing business houses on Sundays, with the 
exception of drug stores. The fine for violation was $100. 

Water was first supplied by use of a wind mill. In Sep- 
tember 1875, the shaft was ordered removed from the wind 
mill and the well in front of Union Hall was put in good order 
and a pump was purchased. 

The problem with railroads in regard to keeping up their 

This page sponsored by 
City of Gibson 


crossings in the village was the topic at many meetings. 
Even in 1971. the city council has this topic on its agenda 
many times. 


APRIL 18, I87fi - Another liquor ordinance was drawn up 
for the sale of "malt and vinous liquors" and the fee was 
fixed at $1000 per year. 

OCTOBER 9, 1876 - J. D. Mellinger's Addition was annexed 
to the city There were three liquor licenses in force at that 
time. These people asked that the fee be reduced, but it was 

JANUARY 2. 1877 - A committee was appointed to produce 
street lamps. On February 12. 1877, the committee on lamps 
reported to the trustees and were ordered to purchase 10 
lamps for the town. 

The first board of health was appointed Dec. 23, 1881. 

OCTOBER 28. 1889 ■ A committee was appointed to in- 
vestigate electric lights for the town. Committee named were 
Worrell, Rockwood and Ross. 

NOVEMBER 11, 1889 ■ Electric lights were installed with a 
2 - mile circuit for $1500. On the same date bids were taken for 
printing city reports, etc. E. Lowery bid 3 cents per line or $12 
per year ; P. A. Coal of the Enterprise bid 2 cents per line, for 
treasurer's report 24 cents per 100 words. Coal's bid was 

AUGUST 23, 1894 - Ordinance was passed for construction 
of water works and bonds issued in the amount of $7800 - rate 
was 5 percent, 20 - year maturity, $1000 each. 

APRIL 24, 1894 - Ordinance passed changed name of the 
town from Village of Gibson to that of a city under the 
general incorporation act of the State of Illinois in regard to 
cities and village in force July 1, 1872. The ordinance 
specified that the government consist of a mayor, six 
aldermen, a city clerk, a city treasurer and a city attorney. 
This was passed and printed in Gibson Enterprise May 24, 

JULY 30, 1895 - The city was divided into three wards 
(there arc now 4 wards). At that date most old ordinances 
were cancelled and new ones written. A new seal was pur- 
chased and license fees revised. 

MAY 29, 1899 - First brick sidewalk ordinance was passed. 

An ordinance for concrete sidewalks was passed on May 10. 
1904. Streets were re - numbered north and from center of 
Lake Erie & Western Railroad south from same point. 

In 1903 Dix Telephone Co. came to Gibson City with 
telephone service. In 1904 Gibson Home Telephone Co. 
replaced them. 

JULY 24, 1906 - First fire department under city super- 
\-ision was organized. 

Members of the new fire company named on August 28, 
1906 were George Woolley, Ford Curtis. Steve Huffman, 
(assistant chief). Will Kashner. George Offner (treasurer) 
Ike McLaughlin (captain Hose Co No. 1). Jno. Robbins. A! 
Mix. Chief Morris Emmons. Will Bolton and John Smith. 
Constitution and by - laws adopted for their regulation at this 

On September 1 1 , 1906 the following names were submitted 
and accepted for membership in the volunteer fire depart- 
ment: Lawrence Fitzhenry, N. Mitchell, Ed Phares, Ed 
Ashley, Henry Rick, Alf Jennings (Capt. Hose Co. No. 2t and 
Charles Clark (secretary). Later on March 12. 1907. the 
following names were added to the department: Bryan 
Emmons, Ross Connors, Charles Ashly, Bart Wright and 
Claud Simmons. 

On April 30, 1907, a motion was passed to construct a tennis 
court in the city park. It would be located at the southside or 
southeast corner of the park. 

JUNE 11. 1907 - Noble Bros, were granted permission to 
build a 2 - story addition of galvanized iron to their building 
on North Sangamon. The elevator still stands at this location. 

SEPTEMBER 10. 1907 - George Wood was appointed street 
commissioner The State Board of Health requested that the 
pond in the park be drained. A drainage district was talked 
about but not enough people signed the petition, therefore, 
the city had to proceed to do this job. 

FIRST WATER METERS - Ordinance passed August 13. 
1907. effective Jan. 1. 1908. The meters were provided by 
consumer according to city specifications. They were also 
purchased through the city. First water rates were 2 cents 
per 100 gallons or a minimum bill of $2 per term of six 
months All meters were turned over to the city by the con- 
sumers in 1930 as so many were in need of extensive repair. 

On and after August 1. 1909. the water rates or water taxes 
were collected quarterly, falling due the first day of the 
following months: April. July. October and January. 
Quarterly rates for water used was set. 

J S. Robbins applied for the first bowling license on 
December 28, 1909. Eighty - two people signed a petition 
asking for a bowling alley. The application was denied. 

ON MARCH 6. 1911. the following action was taken: 
"Whereas William Moyer did on the 13th day of February. 
1911, donate to the city of Gibson $14,000 with which to pur- 
chase a site for and erect a free public library building for 
use and benefit of the City of Gibson (such library to be 
known as the William Moyer Library), the following board of 
directors for the new library were appointed by Mayor Hi 
Arrowsmith: S. J. LeFevre, Evan Mattinson, C. E. Lowery, 
J. Y Shamel, W H. Simms. Honorable J. H Collier. L. E. 
Rockwood. J. W. McCall and Honorable A L. Phillips." 

JUNE 2.5. 1912 - Marshall Stephens reported complaints of 
a dog poisoner being around. 

SEPT. 22. 1914 - The pot belly stove gave way to furnace 
heat in the city hall. 

1916 - The Wilkinson building was built. 

LotI Boulevard was paved in 1922. Originally named Lott 
Sired, it was rename(i in April. 1923. 

Mayor and commission type of government was adopted 
Mav 7. 1923 

The pavilion in ihe north park was originally owned by the 


Chalauqua Association. They gave it to the city by resolution 
on Septennber 24, 1929. for the indebtedness of $250 

Cars once parked in the middle of Sangamon Ave This was 
changed to side parking m October 19'!0 

Parking meters (235 of themi were installed in the fall of 
1949. During the first few years this revenue supported the 
police department 

The sewage disposal plant was built in 1953 - 54 at a total 
cost of $183,671 32, plus cost of land which was $8,000. 


former owner of the Gibson Iron Works and Anderson 
Welding and Machine Shop located on East 8th St 

The large oil painting of a stag which hangs in the council 
room was presented to the city shortly after completion of the 
new building by Frank Hunt, jr The painting originally hung 
m what was known as the Lotus Club in the early days of the 

During the winter of 1970 and spring of 1971, the old fire 
station was remodeled into a new council room and an office 
tor I he mayor The former council room will be the new city 
clerk's office and the police department will be located in the 
former city clerk's office. 

The tire department is now located in the "old Royal 
building" connected to the city building on the east. The city 
purchased I his building several years ago. 

MELLINGER'S PARK (commonly called the north park) 
was given to the city by J. D. Mellinger in 1905. He was an 
early settler in Gibson City. Fireplaces were placed in this 
park first in May, 1924. 

LeFEVRE PARK, located just north of "the United 
Methodist Church, was created by Ordinance No. 1020 on 
March 13. 1917. 

ARROWSMITH PARK (known as the south park) was 
given to the city in August 1925 by H. P. Arrowsmith. 

LOWRY PARK located on the west side of the city was 
given to the city by Mrs. Elizabeth Lowry Elkin in the fall of 
1%7 to be used as a playground for children. 


The first city hall was located on the south half of Lot 3, 
Block 11. Original Town of Gibson (where the vacant First 
National Bank parking lot is now located). The building was * 
constructed in 1873. 

Behind it stood the old frame jail house built in 1874 by Jens 
Rasmussen. It measured 14 feet by 24 feet and cost $165. 

The city hall property was sold Sept. 26, 1905, by bids. High 
bidder was J. M Baily for $3002. 

A new city building was erected on the site of the present 
building. The contract for the building was awarded to I. S. 
Shaw. His bid was $7252. Completion date was 120 days. Bids 
were opened Oct. 5, 1905. Paul O. Moratz was the architect. 
The fire department room was to be sealed with yellow pine 
boards, upper floors to be double, first layer being rough and 
laid diagonally; copper gutters instead of tin; brick to be 
Bloomington brick or "any brick just as good." 

The building was destroyed by fire Feb. 11, 1937 - the day 
of the annual Firemen's Ball. After fire destroyed the 
building, the City Council met on the first floor of the old 
Illinois Bell Telephone Office then located on East 8th St. 

Bonds were issued in the amount of $21,000 to finance the 
cost of a new building. The architect for the present building 
was Aschauer & Waggoner. Bonds were sold on June 11, 1937, 
payable over 10 years at 3' 2 percent interest. 

The contract was let in September 19:?7 for $21,625. The 
contractor was J. W. Montgomery of Danville. Plumbing, 
heating and wiring contract was awarded to Lester Ping for 
$3,849. Final payment was made in March 1938, upon com- 
pletion and approval of the contract. 

The bronze plaque which hangs in the hall of the city 
building was presented to the city by John V. Anderson, 

This City Hall was destroyed by fire on Feb. 11, 1937. 




The Gibson Community Hospital is a 59 bed general 
hospital operated in conjunction with the Gibson Community 
Hospital Annex, a 26 bed nursing home. 

The hospital was originally opened in 1952 (after its charter 
in 1946) as a 50 bed institution. An addition completed in 1963 

increased its capacity to the present total of 85 beds. 

The Gibson Community Hospital and Annex are licensed 
by the Illinois State Board of Health and are both accredited 
by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals. The 
hospital is a member of the American Hospital Association, 
the Illinois Hospital Association, a Blue Cross hospital and is 
certified for Medicare patients. 

One hundred twenty ■ five employees participate in patient 
care either directly or indirectly in the hospital or annex. All 
general hospital facilities are provided such as laboratory, x- 
ray, surgery, maternity, nursing, acute care, post anesthesia 
recovery, inhalation therapy, physical therapy, etc. Con- 
tinuing efforts have been made through the years to add new 
facilities and upgrade all sections of the hospital and annex. 

A total of 12. physicians and dentists representing Gibson 
City, Bellflower, Colfax, Paxton, Roberts, Saybrook, Sibley, 
and Champaign are on the active staff of the hospital with 
another 19 physicians and surgeons from various cities in 
central Illinois serving on the consulting staff. 

The Gibson Community Hospital and Annex is a tribute to 
the courage, faith and concern for people felt by the citizenry 
living in the Gibson community. 



T D. Spalding (1872) 

J. H. Collier (1873) 

S. J. LeFevre (1874) 

George Mullendore (1875) 

C. C. Grim (1876) 

A. Crabbs (1877) 

James E. Crammond (1878) 

Wm. Cornell Jr. (1879) 

A. Crabbs (1880 - 81) 

G. D Spauding (1882) 

G. S. Egglestone (1883) 

J E. Crammond (1884-85) 

O H Damon (1886) 

J E Crammond (1887 - 88) 

Dr. T R. Wiley (1889) 

T. D. Spalding (1890 - 93) 

John H. Holmes (1893 - 94) 

On May 22, 1894, an ordinance was passed and approved by 
the president and board of trustees of the village of Gibson, 
declaring the City of Gibson duly incorporated, and called for 
a special election for the election of a mayor, city council, 
city clerk, city attorney and city treasurer for the ensuing 
year and for the appointment of .judges and clerks of said 

The question for city organization was submitted to voters 
a( an election held April 17, 1894 "in the manner provided by 
law. and the majority of votes cast at .said election were for 
city organization under the general law." 

The president nf the village at thai lime was J. H Holmes 
Trustees were J. C Thornton, Timothy Ross, E. H Harry, W. 
A Hoover and Fred Kesting. Judges for the election of 
Gibson City's first mayor, six aldermen, city clerk, city 
atlorney and city treasurer were John W. Ewing. James 
Kobhins and Jacob W. Preston. Clerks were Henry C. 
Johnson and Amos Ball. 

T. D. Spalding (1894-95) 
O. H. Damon (1895-96) 
EH. Harry (1897-98) 
J. K. Jones (1899 - 1900) 
0. H. Damon (1901 - 02) 
Jacob Roth (1903 - 06) 
C. W. Knapp (1907 - 08) 
H P Arrowsmith (1909 - 10) 
John T. Swanson (1911 - 14) 
William Noble (1915 - 17) 

resigned Dec. 1918 
EH Harry (unexpired term of Wm. Noble) (1918) 
G W. Merritt (1919 died May 1920) 
Dr Frank Hunt (1920 - 22) 
Peter Scheriz (1923 - 26) 
Dr. Frank Hunt (1927- 28) 
F P Johnson ( 1929 - died August 1930; H. C, Krudup mayor 

pro-lem ) 
H. C Krudup ( 1930 - 39 - Frank Hunt Jr. mayor pro - tem ) 
Frank Hunt Jr. (Sept 1939 - May 1944, R. J. Knapp, mayor 

pro - tem ) 
Robert J Knapp ( 1945 - 49) 
Elmer E .Swanslrom (1949 - 53) 
Henry Hagcr (1953 resigned Feb. 59, W. A. O'Neal, mayor 

pro lem ) 
Clifford L Shaner ( May 1959 special election - 61 ) 
David S. Stoker (1961 - 65) 
Charles H Crowley (1965 - 69) Leiand Bush, mayor protem 

from May to July 1969) 
Donald E Craig (.July 1969, special election) 



Those of us who do not know intimately the history of 
Gibson City, perhaps wonder when the idea of having a pubUc 
library in Gibson first had its inception. There are on file at 
the library, some of the first certificates issued by the Gibson 
Library Association dated June 24, 1876. Only one other 
enterprise in Gibson has longer standing - the Gibson City 

The data concerning the work of this library association 
isn't very definite but the best that could be learned from the 
records is that it was carried on under great difficulties, no 
permanent quarters being available. The first stock of books 
were housed in Dr. Water's office, a building in the block now 
occupied by the present library. 

The first Gibson Library Association carried on from 1876 
probably until 1890. The association issued a catalogue in 1879 
listing some 300 volumes. Another catalogue issued in 1883 
listed some 400 volumes. Mr. Lowry says, in the letter from 
which this material is taken, that it was his privilege to be 
librarian on Saturday afternoons when he did the most solid 
reading of his lifetime. From 1890 to 1900, the library was in 
the care of the local Y.M.C.A. and was housed in an upstairs 
room over the Kash and Karry Store, that is now the south 
part of Cornie's shoe store. 

About 1905 the library was moved to the Burwell Opera 
House, now the Masonic Lodge. During these years no 
regular librarian was in charge. From this time for several 
years it was housed in different places, notably the Higgin's 
photograph studio in the McClure Block, this is now where 
the buildings were burned and torn down and is now an 
empty parking lot. The old Library Association name still 

Early in the winter of 1911 it was disclosed that William 
Moyer, one of the early settlers, left Gibson $14,000 to be used 

for the benefit of the city. It was decided to build a library for 
the city and a lot was secured at a cost of $4,400 from the 
father of Mrs. Chloe Rady Barrow. The rest of the money was 
to be put into the building and equipment. When the old 
library association turned over its books to the Wm. Moyer 
Library, named after its donor, there were between five and 
six hundred volumes. 

The original Wm. Moyer Library was torn down because it 
had been condemned by the state and the new library, under 
the name of Moyer Library was built. It took five years and 
two bond issues to get sufficient funds to build the present 
library. During those five years the library was housed in the 
V.F.W. building just south of the railroad on Lott Boulevard. 

In 1962, the library moved into its new building and 
celebrated with a grand opening. In this centennial year, 
1971, Moyer Library has over 14,000 volumes. Gibson City has 
had library service for over 95 years - from 1876 to 1971. Now 
even better service is possible because of the library's 
membership in the Lincoln Trails Library System. This 
makes possible not only many more books but also films, 
records and pictures. 

The regular librarians since the first library building have 
been Mrs. Lucy Culter from 1912 to 1949. Mrs. Charlotte 
McClure assisted and was librarian for a time. She was 
succeeded by Mrs. Mary Kay Barton Edwards. The present 
staff at Moyer Library consists of Mrs. James Hartford, 
librarian, Mrs. RuthSwanson, Mrs. James Mitchell and Mrs. 
James Kidd. 

The present library board consists of W. Thos. Francis, 
president; Larry Swartzell, v. president; Mrs. Jon Hunt, 
secretary; Richard Moody, treasurer; Mrs. E. C. Bucher; 
Mrs. John Noble; Richard Kemple; Mrs. David Kramer and 
Dr. T. Q. Swanson. 


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0/ 0y'^yy~/>o toiitiiii, 'Jl/itioh, M ilie jSwinr and laider of am r)ftate 

of cVoci,- in Hic GIBSON LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, Mibjecf h a/f the 

voKdilioiiA iiiiJ tii'iiit of liJiiyfei of AuiJ M'^i:!;. a^ pioi'iJcJ ti( (lie toiiAiiiuiion and 

^blj-£vil<^r'i -jj Mlid JlAAOciiltioil. 

H'lfiiiss till /111/14' iif till- Seriiliiru. mill Ihr efirinirnlr Snil ^f said SssociatiDii . this 



e^ w^ 



View of city some years ago taken from top of Central Soya bins. 







A Christinas season scene years ago. Smaller lighted trees decorated the sidewalks. 

Old street scene showing Moyer fountain 



The pavilion in (he North Park is the scene of 
many family fialheiings and hand concerts in the 
siimmerlinie. The old dirt floor was covered with 

blacktop in I!m;s. The project was sponsored by 
the .lavcees. 


The pavilion at the north park was originally owned by a 
f^roup called the Chautauqua Association. The association 
fjave it to the City by resolution September 24, 1929, for the 
indebtedness of $250. 

The original resolution read as follows: 
To the Honorable Mayor and Aldermen, 

City of Gibson, State of Illinois: 

At an official meeting of the members of the Gibson City 
Chautauqua A.ssociation, held in the Chautauqua Pavilion in 
the City of Gibson and State of Illinois, on the evening of 
Monday, September 2.3, 1929, a resolution was passed and 
adopted by a majority of the members and a majority of all 
outstanding stock, by virtue of which the Chautauqua 
Pavilion, located on City Park Ground, is tendered to the City 
of Gibson, to become its exclusive property, to be maintained 
by the City for the public pruposes for which it was erected, 
and such purposes as in the judgment of the City Council are 
for the benefit of the community 

This action was taken by the Chautauqua Association to 
preserve and perpetuate this unique and valuable property 
for the benefit and enjoyment of the community, and to serve 
as a gathering place for functions which can be ac- 
commodated in no other enclosures in the community, and 
with I he undei-s landing that the only reimbursement asked of 

the city will be the payment of the present small in- 
debtedness of the Association, amounting to the sum of about 

The tender of this property is made to your honorable body 
with the hope that it will receive your favorable con- 

Presented by 

J. T. Swanson, 
Dr. Geo. A. Wash, 
W. S. Lamb, 


C. E. Lowry, 
L. E. Rockwood, 
Dr R. N. Lane, 

Resolutions Committee. 

C. E. Lowry, 

President Chautauqua Ass'n 
Bryson Strauss, 

Acting Secretary. 



The people of this communiK' may well be proud of ihi' 
beautiful, well kept cemten.' on the knoll at the southwest 
edge of our city Jonathan B Lolt. the Founder of Cibson. in 
1870 planned to build his house on the site, but decided the 
location would be the best in the \illage lor a burial ground 
\ie built his house on what was to be named Sangamon 

In 1874 he deeded 10 acres of land on the •hill" to Drummer 
Township for a Burying Ground with the pro\ ision that an 
assiKiation be formed and trustees elected to supervise the 
management of the cemetery and a lax be le\ied lo maintain 
it. This plan has been followed since that lime 

The original cemetery was laid out with a circular dirve 
around the hill and the "Soldier's Circle" given the place of 
honor at the top of the hill. In the cente of the Circle Lott 
Post. No 70. Grand Army of the Republic, placed a large 
cannon and a parrot gun with a number of shells which they 
received from the United States government Fortress 
Monroe A flagpole was erected beside the cannon. This was 
dedicated to the soldiers at a ceremony on Memorial Day 
May 30. 1898. A circle of Civil War veterans graves surrounds 
the cannon. 

The first burial in the cemetery was that of Mrs. Mary 
Bowkerwhodiedat her farm home south of town on Januarv^ 
R. 1876. 

The original plot of ground has been enlarged several 
limes and now consists of approximately 40 acres, extending 
from the pine trees on the north to Routes 54-47 on the south 
and to Route 47 on the west. Several new drives have been 
constructed and plantings of evergreens and shrubbery- 
added. Many of the old trees were destroyed in the tornado of 
a few years ago. 

The old cemetery record books show only the name of the 
purchaser of the lot. hence graves of the early settlers are 

often hard to lex-ate If there is no marker Better records are 
now kept 

The first burying ground for this area was on the .Andrew 
Jordan farm In ihe 1880 s ihe marked graves from there 
were moved lo thi' new town cemetery Where no relatives 
could be contacted, a section in the cemetery was ':i'' aside 
for those gra\ es Some of the markers were of wood .md long 
since unreadable 

During the summer of 1962, the members of the Govenor 
Thomas Ford Chapter of the Daughters of the American 
Revolution conducted a complete survpy of every cemetery 
in Ford County and recorded the readable inscriptions on the 
markers and tombstones in each one There were over :i700 of 
these in Drummer Township Cemetery at that time Twenty 
five or so were unreadable 

Six books were printed with these listings. There is one in 
Moyer Library in Gibson City with the records of Ihe local 
cemetery also of Mt Hope Cemetery in Sibley. Waggoner, 
Flliolt, Wallace, Pontoppidan, Meharry, Farmersville, Ten 
Mile Grove, Pleasant Grove and Mt. Olivet Cemeteries 

There are 60 marked Civil War Veterans graves, five 
Spanish American War ones, and about 70 World War I 
Veteran's graves. Not all the veteran's graves may have 
been marked. 

Until recent years flags and flowers were placed or 
veteran's graves for Memorial Day. There has always beei 
Memorial Day services conducted by Veterans organization; 
starting almost a century ago when the grand army o 
Republic men returned from the Civil War honored theii 
soldier dead. This has been continued through the vears b\ 
the men who have come home from the Spanish-Americar 
War, World War I, World War II, Ihe Korean Conflict anc 
Vietnam War. The American Legion and Veterans of Foreigr 
Wars are carrying on with this time honored tradition. 

Soldiers' Monument, Gibson City, III 

Soldier's Monument 

Volunteer firemen of 1883 

ij N : 

rebuilt, than before ^ determination of these pioneers, the businesses were always 







Gibson City Fire Department float in Corn Carnival parade. 

Members of the Gibson City Band as they appeared the day before Decoration Day, May, 1910. Front 
row. seated from left: Charles l.owery. Bill Ricks. Clyde Smith (leader). John Christensen and 
Raymond Green: .'nd row. from left: Hugh Bell. (?) .Swartsley, Earl Coal, Jule Paxton, Jim Mitchell, 
Kdward Augspurger (?i Paxton and unidentified. Third row, from left: (?) Bland, Ira Munsen. Mike 
Huffman and Ralph Huffman. 


Country lane near Gibson City, III. 






Of the 102 counties in Illinois. Ford County was the last to 
be organized. It has an odd shape because it was founded 
from land taken from Vermillion and other surrounding 
counties. It was named in honor of the eighth governor of 
Illinois, Thomas Ford and was created a county by act of the 
legislature on February 17, 1869. 

The first settlers in Ford County located at Trinkle's Grove 
near Paxton in 1835 before the county was organized. There 
are twelve townships in Ford County -- Patton, Drummer, 
Rogers, Brenton, Button, Dix, Wall, Pella, Mona, Lyman. 
Sullivant. and Peach Orchard. Drummer Township was 
second organized -- in 1858, and is said to have taken its name 
from the little grove called Drummer Grove which lies about 
a mile northwest of the present Gibson City. The grove is 
said to have been named for Thomas Cheney's hunting dog, 
Drummer; so called because he was good at "drumming up 
wild game." 

The first settler in the Gibson City vicinity was Andrew 
Jordan who came here in 1851. In 1855, a Dr. Davis settled at 
Drummer Grove where he pursued farming and also prac- 
ticed his profession. Thomas Stephens settled on land in the 
southern part of Drummer Township in the early 1850's and 
engaged in extensive livestock raising during the first year, 
later in raising flax and corn. 

A little later came Sam LeFevre, J. H. Dungan and 
Leonard Pierpont. who settled near what was to become the 
village of Gibson 

In a short time the Canterbury, McClure, McKeever and 
Weakman families came. Settlers had to drive to Paxton or 
to Chatsworth to market their produce, get their mail, and 
buy their supplies. 

The dairy of an early Ford County settler describes Illinois 
in the I850's. "It was not a barren waste. It was a bleak, cold 
waste in the winter time. The snow went the way the wind 
took it as far as it wanted to go and the tumble weeds also; 
but in the summer time it was all grass and flowers; the tall 
grass, when the wind blew, was like waves of the sea, 
beautiful to behold. You could see as far as the strength of the 
eye would permit. If you knew where you wanted to go, you 
had nothing to do but start out and go. There were no roads or 
hedges as there are now, but look out for the ponds of water, 
you would be into one before you knew it. The grass would be 
higher than your heads and it would be lots more trouble 
getting out of it than in it. The country was mostly given over 
to grazing. Cattle were fattened on grass and driven to 
Chicago or to eastern points for market. Settlers had a hard 
time to keep the deer and cattle from their little corn pat- 

Jonathan B. Lott, Civil War veteran, in 1869, purchased the 
town site of Gibson City from Jesse B. Whitehead of 
Chicago, and in February, 1970, the land was surveyed for a 
mile square. Lott built his home here, and Gibson City had its 
inception. Mr. Lott named the village Gibson in honor of his 
wife. Margaret Gibson. Later the "City" was added to 
distinguish it from Gilson, Illinois. With the help of influential 
friends, he succeeded in having the surveys of three railways 
changed to come through his town, a great task for any one 
man at any time. 

The first commercial business done in the city was by 
William Moyer, who opened a grain office in December, 1870. 
Wilson Brothers opened a general store in June. 1871. In the 
same month came H. J Collier. T. D. Spalding opened a 
lumber yard near the crossing of the railroads. M T. Burwell 
established the first bank in 1872. the .same year the first 
paper The Enterprise was published in Gibson City. 

The village was incorporated in 1872, with T D Spalding, 

J. H. Collier, S. J. LeFevre, Bruce McCormick and W. T. 
Kerr as trustees, with Spalding ser\'ing as the first mayor. 

The first wedding was that of Miss Hattie Gibson, a sister 
of Mrs. Lott, to Bruce McCormick. The first girl born in 
Gibson was Maude Lott, a niece of J. B. Lott. Harry Spalding, 
son of T. D. Spalding, was the first boy. Methodist built the 
first church in town and were soon followed by the Cum- 
berland Presbyterians, United Brethren and Catholics. 

In January, 1883, Gibson City had a destructive fire which 
burned most of the west side of the street,. but in six months 
time brick structures had replaced the wooden ones. The 
most pretentious building was the Opera House owned by M. 
T. Burwell. It is now the Masonic Lodge Hall, and in those 
early days was said to be the finest opera house in the state 
outside of Chicago. It boasted a stage, scenery, drop cur- 
tains, and was lighted by gas. 

The water works were built in 1895 at a cost of $30,000. It 
was a gala day for Gibson when the three large fountains 
donated to the town were unveiled and the water turned on. 
The large fountain at Sangamon and Ninth Streets was given 
by William Moyer; the one in front of the Post office by 
Mattinson, Wilson and Company; and the fountain at the 
library corner was the gift of 0. H. Damon. October 8, 1895 
was declared a holiday; the schools were closed and the 
water was turned on and played against the side of a building 
to show the people how high it would go. There was a parade 
and speeches. Then everybody went to a vacant lot where a 
huge bonfire had been kindled. The firemen came with their 
hose, turned on the water and put out the fire. 


When building in the village began the slough grass, a 
particularly tough, strong grass grew several feet high: often 
it would grow as high as a horse. Weeds flourished in (he 
swampy ground. For many years there was trouble with 
water and mud and in the western part of the village it was .^ 
necessary in flood times to rescue people with horses. 

There were no churches, no schoolhouses, no colleges to 
speak of, for miles from the settlement. There were only a 
half dozen or more families on all the surrounding prairie. 
Such was the land.scape, such the conditions thai invited 
these early settlers. 

Game was plentiful, such as deer, wild hogs, wild turkeys, 
geese, prairie chickens and wild ducks, which provided meat 
for the families for quite a period ahead. 

And even under these primitive conditions, the settlement 
thrived and others began to come And this, when spring 
opened up In full blast, these settlers were more than plea.sed 
with the prospects before Ihem. 

Of course, there were plenty of discouragements too. as the 
ague was bad. rattlesnakes plentiful, flies simply fierce, 
especially which was known as (he "green heads," that set 
the horse frantic, yet, with all this these settlers persevered. 
always looking on I he bright side 

The first person buried in the new cemetary was Mrs. 
Mary S. Bowker She died .Jan. 8, 1876 and was buried on the 
beautiful knoll southwest of Ihe village where wild deer had 
roamed only a few years before 

The first trees were planted in Gibson City in May 1879. 

These were planted by a .) W Moore. .500 trees of Ihe 
following varieties 

2(MI Box Riders 12' lo 15' high 

liKiAsh «• to 10' high 

UK) Kim 8' lo 10' high 

:i(iLmden 8' loll)' high 

20 European Mountain Ash 8' to 10' high 


50 Evergreens, assorted 6' to 8' high 

50 Ornamental trees and shrubs such as weeping ash, 
willow, poplar. 

The sum paid was $150.00, payable as follows when trees 
are planted and in good condition $65.00; when the said 500 
trees are found to be growing and in healthy condition 
$40.00; when said trees leaf out in the spring of 1880 and are 
found to be growing and in good condition the balance of 


A team of coal-black horses was used to pull the fire engine in 
the early days of the Gibson City Volunteer Fire Department. 
In the background is the old city hall which was destroyed by 
fire F'ebruary n. 19.37. It was built in 1906. The picture was 
furnished by long - time volunteer fireman. Frank Cooper. 
He thought the picture was taken sometime in the I92n's. 

A line of buggies filled with mourners were included in the 
funeral procession for Dr. F.O. Culter. The Knights of 
Templers of Paxton, wearing plumed hats, marched in 
the procession. 



One of the city's most impressive funeral processions took place in 1908 upon 
the death of Dr. F.O. Culter. W.S. Lamb can be seen on the hearse at left. 
Members of the Masonic Lodge walked behind the hearse. 





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IIISlOl!^ (II (.ll'.S((\ ( 11 ^ 

Jonalhan B Lolt, Civil War veieran. in 18f,<i. purchased Ihe 
iownsilci)('(Jibsnn City from J'jssr H W'hiifl.cnd til Chicago 
and in February, 187(i. iho land was >u-vcved. for a mile 
s()uare. Loll hiiill his home here, and fJihson City had its 

Because Ihe original town was plaled and l:iid out by Lott, 
it was named after his widow, M:irgaret A Gibson, whom he 
married in 18(i7 In making application for a pcj.M oflice of the 
same name, thai department added thr U' id "city" to the 
original name because of thesiniilani> wiih (iilson. 111. 

The first store was operated by Wilson Brothers, but soon 
such men as J. H. Ring, J H Collier, and T. D. Spalding 
joined in the ranks of business men. However, the first 
commercial business done in town was a grain elevator 
owned by William Mnyer. one nf the city's first inhabitants. 
Me started his business in 1870 and soon reached the distinc- 
tion of being the wealthiest man in town 

C. H Yftemans was the city's first lawyer: Dr. Anderson, 
the first physician; J. E. Cruzcn the first post master; andM. 
T Burwell the first banker. The first paper published in 
Gibson City was the Enterprise, by N. E. Stevens, in 1872, and 
after going through several hands, the paper finally came to 
the Lowry family. Methodists built the first church in town 
and were followed by the Cumberland Presbyterians, United 
Brethren and Catholics. The village was incorporated in 
1872, with T. D. Spalding, J. H. Collier, S. J. LeFevre, Bruce 
McCormick, and W. T. Kerr as trustees. A little later 
Spalding served as the city's first mayor. A few years later, 
in 1874, there was erected Ihe finest school building in the 
county with a capacity of 300 students. Another school 
building with a capacity of 100 was erected eight years later. 
Both of these buildings were destroyed by fire in 1912 and the 
present grade school and the Drummer Township High 
School were erected the same year. 

On January 29, 188.3, the town was visited by a fire which 
swept away in the course of a few hours about $50,000 worth 
of property. It was here the enterprising spirit of the citizens 
showed itself, for in less than a month after the fire workmen 
were busy rebuilding, and soon had erected 12 new brick 
stores and other improvements at a cost of nearly $80,000. It 
was at this time that M. T. Burwell's opera hall was erected 
which was made famous at that time because the entire 
building — hall, stage and footlights — was lighted by gas. 

The city's waterworks was dedicated in 1895, the city's 25th 
anniversary, and the first pump had a capacity of 1,500,000 
gallons every 24 hours. 

The first railroad through Gibson City was the Gilman. 
Clinton and Springfield, now operated by the Illinois Central 
which was buill in 1871, and was followed the same year by 
the I.alayelle, Bloomington & Mississippi (now Norfolk & 

Wi'<)(rn Peori.i brandv \m regular 'rams were run until 
ilir inll.iui.^ spring. The Chicago and Paducah. now Ihe 
■Nnrliilk & W.-siern - Decatur branch, was buili through 
(iibson <"ii\ m 1874. 

II was in Ibis year that the Swedish delegation of settlers 
began to arrive in Gibson City. An agreement was made with 
the Illinois Central Railroad that these new arrivals should 
settle on the land Ihat the railroad company had for sale in 
consideration of which the company would give Ihe Swedish 
.Auguslana College at Paxton a commission of one dollar per 
acre on every acre sold to Ihe Swedish settlers. 

The first town meeting was held in Guthrie hall, then in 
Union hall, moved after that to Burwell's opera house, and 
finally, in 1906. Ihe city hall was built. Just a few years after 
Ihe erection of the city hall, the William Moyer library was 
erected The building was begun in 1911 and completed in 
1912 and was made possible by a donation of $14,000 by 
William Moyer, 

Bruce McCormick, the first happy bridegroom of Gibson 
City, married Miss Hattie Gibson in 1872. The first child born 
here was Maude Lolt, daughter of J R. and Ollie. born in 
1873 Fred Spalding, the first boy born in Gibson, was later 
killed in an explosion at the canning factory. The first school 
in town was taught by Miss Caroline Williams. Mr. C. H. 
■^'eomans was the first lawyer; Dr. Anderson was the first 
physician; J. E. Cruzen was Ihe first postmaster; M. T. 
Burwell was the first banker; and J. H. Collier and Austin 
Crabbs were among the first prominent business men. 

Corn and oats in the early days of Gibson sold for 15 cents 
per bushel, with eggs at 3 cents per dozen. The first store was 
run by Wilson Bros. Their stock was small and settlers rode 
on horseback or walked to Paxton and Saybrook for supplies. 
The first paper published in Gibson was the Gibson En- 
terprise, published by N. E. Stevens in the spring of 1872. In 
the fall of 1873 the paper was purchased by Walter Huge who 
changed Ihe name to the Gibson Courier. In 1875 Mr. E. 
Lowry became the owner and editor, selling in 1884 to M. F. 
Cunningham and John C. Malloy. In 1897 he repurchased it 
and it was later published by his sons. The paper is now- 
published by Kramer Publishing Co. 

In 1885 the first iron foundry was started by E H. Harry. In 
the same year a group of men started a canning factory here. 
A tile factory began operation by Andrew Jordan on his farm 
just southeast of town. In 1890 a novelty factory was started 
by Mr. Spalding and Mr. Eggleston. In 1893 a cigar factory 
was started by Mr. 0. J. Phillips. In 1900 Mr. George Wood 
started a washing machine factory which later became a 
broom factory. In 1901 a shoe factory was located here. 
(From City Directory, published by City of Gibson and 
sponsored by Gibson Chamber of Commerce in late 1940's.) 

Gibson City, III. in 1885. The village was 
founded by Jonathan B. Lott in I87n and 
was named for his wife, Margaret 
Gibson. McCabe Meat Market shown at 
right and old town pump and horse 
trough. Rev. D. O. Oiffin and family, a 
I'. B. minister is shown in the spring 
wagon at the left. Notice the board 
awnings and high board side walks. 



. urroN RES 
















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mimx wonn 

Livtm kMM 





JUNE 1947 






John Myers, now a resident of Kcntutk> . ulls that in 1836. 
he in company with his brother, Ephnam Myers, came from 
Kentucky to explore this part of Illinois 

They traveled on foot by way of Rantoul with the mtention 
of reaching the settlement of Cheney's Grove (now 

In the course of their wanderings, they joined Tom Cheney, 
who was riding a horse and was accompanied by his dog, 
which he called Drummer because he was good at 'drum- 
ming up wild game'. 

When they reached what is now Drummer Grove, they 
discovered traces of wild hogs at the north end of the grove. 
They fired into the bunch and succeeded in killing two of 
Ihem Afterward a deer was seen across the prairie. Cheney 
left his horse and the dog in charge of John and started out on 
foot to track down the deer. When he was almost close 
enough lo shoot it. the dog became restless, broke loose, and 
see^pg the deer, immediately gave chase, frightening the 
deer so that it escaped before the hunter could fire a shot. 

When Tom Cheney came back to the Myer's men, he said 
that he would like lo shoot that dog for playing such a trick, 
and he did just that, right then and there! 

Ephriam immediately suggested that they name the grove 
Drummer Grove, in honor of the dog, and so it has been from 
that day ' this, 135 years ago. 

Drummer Grove was to the youth of the village what the 
Lake of the Woods is to the young people of our town today, a 
place to go for outings, a place to spend a few hours away 
from the streets of the town, the school room, and the routine 
of daily life. The older folk of those early days enjoyed a trip 
lo the grove also. It meant a new hours in the shade of trees, 
missing in the treeless village, and the sound of running 
water, which many had enjoyed in their former homes. 

The name Drummer was honored in other ways: Drummer 
Township. Drummer Township Cemetery, Drummer 
Township high school for a time and even the football team 
was called the Hounds. Many of the trees have fallen, the 
spring has been clogged and the grove has been closed to the 
public because of vandalism but the memory of the good 
limes In Drummer Grove in the years gone by lingers on. 


By Helen Foster Kelley 

My grandfather John N. Vaughn, a Civil War veteran and 
memberof Lott Post70G.A.R., Ford Co., came to Gibson in 
iKfiH He was the father of II children. In 1875 he established 
the first implement business in Gibson, on the site now oc- 
cupied by the Corn Belt Hatchery. He installed the first wind 
mills, binders, threshing machines and steam engines to be 
used in Ibis territory. A few years later he added the selling 
of real estate to his endeavors. The family lived in and 
operated a hotel then located just north of the present 
Fashion Shop. My mother, Ella Vaughn Foster, loved to 
recall the Republican political rallies of that day in which 
they all look part. 

In very early days, just a mile northwest of Gibson, there 
was a lovely grove of virgin timber on the banks of a 
meandering stream, which spread out over a gravel deposit, 
making a very good ford for those who wished to cross. Close 
lo this grove and on the banks of this stream were several 
delightful bubbling springs of pure water from which anyone 
might drink with safety. II was here Tom Cheney came with 
his dog Drummer to hunt. A deer was spotted, the dog 
frightened it away and Cheney, so displeased with the dog's 
behavior, shot and buried him there. Since that time they 
have been called Drummer Grove and Drummer Creek. It 

has been said that Cheney, prodded by remorse, brought an 
oak from Cheney's Grove and planted it to mark the dog's 
grave. We know that only one oak tree ever grew there. It has 
been gone for several years. Many of the walnut, having 
passed their prime, were used by the government during 
World War II for gun stalks. 

It was in 1854 that Joshua E. Davis, a doctor and owner of 
this property, came to Drummer Grove to live in a small 
house with out - buildings. He hired a tutor for his children 
and invited those in the neighborhood to come. His home soon 
became crowded, and he moved his family to a house he built 
on the site we now occpy , which burned in 1913. 

When the county was laid out in 1858 and roads began to 
develop, land was set aside for a school on the Mellenger 
farm south of us, and the Drummer Grove building was 
moved. Joshua E. Davis moved from the farm in 1875. His 
son Frank came in the early 1930's to visit the scenes of his 

My great - grandfather, John Foster, traveled through this 
part of the country buying grain for his elevator in Chicago. 
In the year 1869 he started negotiations to buy 700 acres. 
Drummer Grove Farm, from Mr. Davis. In 1874 the deal was 
completed and a release granted. 

My great - grandfather then began to improve the farm by 
changing the channel of the creek, which at that time came 
very near the living quarters. He planted a large orchard of 
fruit trees bordered on the south by seven acres of pine. 
Hundreds of night herons made their home there for years. 
He also planted 5000 forest trees in four different groves, 
surrounding one with beautiful European larch. The herbs 
penny - royal and anise - root grew there abundantly. He 
planted many wild flowers in Drummer: Jack - in - the - 
pulpit, Dutchman's breeches, dog toothed violets. Wake 
robins and many more, along with flowering shrubs. The wild 
crab filled the air with fragrance for half a mile in spring. 
The blue birds and yellow canaries came in droves. They 
loved to nest there. "There were pussy willows to charm the 
bees in spring and one's choice of mint for a cup of tea. He 
built a fine set of buildings with the crib up on stones to keep 
the rats out and brick house piped with spring water to cool 
the milk. He installed many miles of tile, open ditches, and 
board fencing around the farm and groves to protect them 
from grazing. 

We have great - grandfather's ledger in which he kept 
detailed accounts of his business dating back to 1817. I can 
remember the sties he used to cross the fences and the 
homemade sun dials conveniently placed. Before he died in 
1898 he deeded my father, John Stanhope Foster, 218 acres 
with instructions to "sink or swim". Dad also received 120 
acres when his mother died, but he did learn to swim, as he 
soon bought the remaining family interest in the 700 as well 


as other adjoining acreage. 

In (he years that have passed, the public has taken ad- 
vantage of their welcome to go and come as they pleased at 
Drummer Grove and the old swimming hole. There was a 
ball diamond there at one time. However, besides the 
ravages of nature, the public also proved quite destructive by 

leaving fires, digging up the flowers and trees, filling the 
springs with rocks and breaking the tile, building dams in the 
creek, shooting at the livestock and killing the birds and 
squirrels. So it has become necessary to restrict access, even 
though the grove has long since lost its bloom. 

•j^ J d W a wtW -: 


Written by J. P. Lowry 
(former editor of the Gibson Citv Courier) 

Drummer Grove! Magic name! Paradise of boys for sixty 
years. This is the forest primeval, sans murmering pines and 
hemlock, but verdant with oaH, walnut, hickory, haw, wild 
crab apple and slippery "ellum". When they staked out the 
village of Gibson in the prairie bottoms at the beginning of 
(he seventies. Drummer Grove was the nearest approach of 
the primeval forest, and it was a mile and a half away. The 
urchins of the seventies, wandering afield, found it and 
whooped for joy. 

The boys of the eighties, and nineties and every succeeding 
decade have found in it the land of romance, the land of Robin 
Hood and Tom Sawyer and of Injun Joe. They have 
bivouacked there They have called it their rendezvous, 
which they pronounced renddez - vows and not rondavoo. 
They have drunk from the icy spring of living water which 
has bubbled at the edge of Drummer crick for ages. They 
have buried their treasures in its soil. 

Here Mother Earth has taken these boys to her bosom and 
satisfied the restless yearnings of their souls. The gaunt, 
ancient trees have thrilled at the dark secrets whispered in 
their grateful shade. Sunfish and catfish and silversides have 
nibbled the angle worms from their hooks, and startled 
crayfish have skeedaddled in the brook before their wading 

The big Irees are still there, some of them at least, but the 
dense mysterious undergrowth of the mystic past is gone. 

and one charmmg bend of Bendermeer's stream has yielded 
lo the ruthle-ss dredger. The place is still eloquent in its 
natural appeal, an oasis in the surrounding fields of corn. A 
charm from Ihc skies seems to hallow it there, a little bit of 
heaven, an island of dreams. 

The other day Drummer Grove was rediscovered, this 
lime by a descendant of one of the tribes of (he Red Man. His 
eyes saw things which the boys of yesterday could not see. He 
knew the ancient, imperishable signs left behind by a race 
long gone. Accompanied by Gibson men who had been 
Drummer boys, he traced for them a Kickapoo Indian (rail 
along the banks of the little stream. He uncovered sites of 
former teepees, and dug up close (o (he surface chunks of 
flint and firestone. Here was an Indian habitation of perhaps 
25 to 30 teepees, he said, and hundreds of years before the 
Kickapoo another unknown race had been on the banks of (his 
stream and left behind (hem "footprints on the sand of time." 

Perhaps this is the secret of the wild rapture which has 
filled (he hear( of boyhood in the quiet precincts of Drummer 
Grove. Maybe Drummer Grove is indeed the happy hunting 
ground, and mayl)e the spirits of these great untutored but 
nature - wise aborigines wander in these shades and speak 
(he language of Ihe spiril lo wide - cNod liltle twys. leaving a 
benediction and an impression deeper than all of the prattle 
of civilization and book learning. Shades of ancient Drum 
mer, we salute (hee! 






The Gibson City Lions Club was organized on April 20th, 
1922 with twenty - six members. This membership had in- 
creased to thirty - five by the time the club had its charter 
night on June 29. 1922. Lionism was then four years old and 
there were some 500 clubs scattered over twenty - seven 
slates of the Union, compared with today's 16.558 clubs in 118 
countries and geographical areas. At that time Gibson City 
was the smallest city ever to hold a charter and was known as 
the baby Lion Club of America. 

The following year, in 1923, Gibson City Lions Club at- 
tended the state convention with the Gibson City band and at 
the banquet was presented a beautiful silver loving cup. 
appropriately inscribed, for having the largest percentage of 
its membership present at the convention. Gibson City's Hy 
Arrowsmilh was a friendly and familiar figure at all the 
meetings and the "Baby Lions Club of the United States" was 
in the spotlight throughout the convention. 

In 1924 the convention was in Elgin and again a good 
representation of our club attended with the Gibson City 
band. Five hundred carnations, three hundred roses and a 
thousand sweet peas, all Gibson City grown, flooded the 
convention. Every Lion received a carnation, every Lion's 
lady a rose. The registration lobby of the big Y.M.C.A. 
building was decorated by cartoons and catchy mottos 
calling attention to Gibson City as the place for the next 
convention. It was Hy Arrowsmith's third convention and his 
name had become a household word. One cartoon claimed 
that you could go a hundred miles on one boulevard in Gibson 
City and showed Hy riding a tricycle around the median strip 
of the new Lott Boulevard. Another, with Hy standing by a 
house, with people sleeping on the roof and half way out the 
windows, showed what accommodations they could expect. 

there was keen competition for the convention honors for 
1925 but so potent was Gibson City that Cook County asked 
the privilege of making the nominating speech and a Chicago 
man seconded the nomination. As the roll of Illinois clubs was 
called, the vote of club after club of Chicago and Cook County 
went for Gibson City, and as the enthusiasm grew, downstate 
fell into line. Gibson City won on the first ballot and im- 
mediately the Gibson City band, stationed in the balcony, 
struck up "Hail. Hail, the Gang's All Here," followed by 
"There'll Be A Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight." En- 
thusiastic Lions grabbed Hy Arrowsmith and carried him 
around the hall on their shoulders. 

The Slate Lions Convention was held in Gibson City on May 
18, 1925, In point of attendance it exceeded every record of 
any state convention prior to that date. The mile long parade 
w'hich followed the morning session surpassed any Lion 
parade ever seen in this stale up to that time. There were 
seven bands plus two or three comic bands. Business sessions 

look place in the Edna Theater and the 6:30 banquet w-as held 
in the park pavilion. This large steel and glass structure had 
been floored for the occasion, and every available foot of 
space was occupied by the tables. Four different churches 
sened the dinner from their individual tent which had been 
erected around the pavilion. It was a success in which the 
entire community had a part. Homes, churches, lodges, 
schools, and public buildings were thrown open to the 
honored guests of the city, and the citizens vied with each 
other in making the occasion a memorable one. The Cook 
County delegation, representing about 25 clubs, chartered a 
solid Pullman train for the convention, including a buffet car. 
It was set off on the siding of the Illinois Central tracks, 
where it served as a hotel for the Chicago guests for the two 
nights. A special train also came from Springfield. 

For 49 years, through depressions, booms, and wars the 
members of the Gibson City Lions Club have met every 
Tuesday, except for the months of July and August, to eat, 
laugh, sing and enjoy themselves. But underneath it all is a 
serious purpose. $5301.14 has been given by the club for the 
building of the Gibson Community Hospital and its new 
addition. The club donates and lends its aid to the Community 
Chest drive and money is given to the student loan fund each 
year. Donations are made to the Hadley School for the Blind 
and Leader Dog School. Students are sent to summer music 
camps and Boy's State. The children of the community are 
given a party every Halloween and on Easter. An athletic 
banquet is co - sponsored each spring honoring athletes of 
Gibson City High School. The youth baseball program is 
underwritten by the club. The club supen'ises the activities 
of the homecoming football games and prizes are given for 
the best floats in the homecoming parade. 

A gala 40th birthday celebration was held in 1962 in the high 
school gym. The event attracted some 600 Lions and their 
wives from all over the state. 

During the year 1966 - 67 Lion Wes Calhoun was elected 
Governor of District IB. 

In the spring of 1967 the District IB Convention was held at 
the High School in Gibson City. 

Gibson City, having been the second oldest club in District 
IB, became the oldest club in the newly founded District IK 
in 1970. The club holds the distinction of being the only club 
meeting at noon time in District IK. 

Since its organization the club has sponsored 10 Lions 
Clubs: Hoopeston. Onarga. Potomac. Forrest. Milford. 
Rossville. Colfax. Saybrook. Melvin. and Sibley. 

All of the original 25 charter members are dead except one. 
Andrew Tarbox moved to Indiana about 1927 and now lives in 

Our club's 50th anniversary will be held in the fall of 1972. 
In the 50 years of Lionism in Gibson City much has been 
accomplished by the Lions, and we are proud of our club as 
the Lions go marching on. 





r ^ '^ 1 

— — _^ / ' ^ 


(ORGANIZATIONS continued on page .5K) 


Gibson City Area Centennial Calendar of Events 

June 26 through July 3 


Sunday, June 27 

Ohm. - Mr. & Mrs. Noel Hutchcraft (Ph: 784-5656) 

All activities to be held at the North Park unless 

stated otherwise . 








Heritage observance in all churches 

Community Potluck Picnic 

Sports Car Rally - East 16th Street 

Chanute Air Force Band Concert 

Presentation of Winning Costumes 

Ice Cream Social 

Horseshow Pitching Exhibition 

Pony Cart Rides 

Park Activities and Games 

Concert by the Community Childrens 


Old FaRV>*oned Hymn Sing 


Monday, June 28 

Chm. - Mr. & Mrs. James Hazen (Ph: 784-4416) 

ALL DAY Youth Organization's Exhibits and 

Displays - Tent Uptown 
9:00 Children's Parade - 12 years and 

under. Awards in various categories. 

Assemble at United Methodist Church. 
9:45 Opening Ceremony of Gibson City's 

Centennial Celebration - Library. 
All afternoon and evening activities to be held at 
the North Park. 

1:00-3:00 Free Swimming - 18 years old and 

under - Gibson Pool 
3:00 Youth Swimming & Diving Competition, 

Childrens Games & Contests - Awards 
8:00 Teen Dance - 13 to 18 years old 

Kitten Ball - North Park Ball Diamond 

For older "youth" 19 to 99 years old. 


Tuesday, June 29 

Chm. - Mr. & Mrs. Gary Keii,, (Ph: 7 84-4117) 

Displays & Exhibits - Tents Uptown 
Pancake & Sausage Breakfast - 
Legion Hall 

Antique Flea Market - Uptown 
Memorial Service for pioneers and 
Founders - Cemetery 
Horseshoeing - Place to be announced 
Fruit Pie Baking Contest - Tent Uptown 
Pies must be at the tent by 12:30. 
Judging at 1:00 

Recognition Ceremony & Awards for 
pioneers and former residents, fol- 
lowed by refreshments and conver- 
sation hour. Tent Uptown 
All evening activltes to be held at the North Park 
5:00-7:00 Ham & Bean Supper 

Old Time Fiddlers Competition 

Square & Round Dance 

Exhibition by Circle R Square Dance 








Wednesday, June 30 

Chm. - Mr. & Mrs. Robert Nelson (Ph: 784-4395) 

Co-Chm. - Mr. & Mrs. Gary Reitz (Ph: 784-5826) 

ALL DAY Displays & Exhibits - Tent Uptown 
Antique Machinery Display - South 

8:00-7:00 Antique Flea Market - Uptown 

INTRY DAY #1 continued 
Country Store - Uptown. Various 
organizations will be selling their 
homemade items, baked goods, etc. 
1:00 Small Garden Tractor Pull - North 


Industrial Tours - Cargiil, Inc., 
Central Soya , M & W Gear Co. , 
Electronic Compnents Corp., and 
the Airport. Schedules will be 
posted at City Hall and Centennial 
Headquarters. Bus service to and 
from. Everyone must use the tour 
buses, no individual cars, etc. 
allowed at these businesses. 
7:15 Pre-Spectacie Entertainment 

8:15 Premier Performance of "Running Deer 

to Soaring Planes" 


Thursday, July 1 

Chm. - Mr. & Mrs. Robert Nelson (Ph: 784-4395) 

Co-Chm. - Mr. & Mrs. Ronald Knapp (Ph: 784-4378) 

Displays & Exhibits - Tent Uptown 

Antique Machinery Display - South 


Antique Flea Market - Uptown 

Country Store cont. - Uptown 

Car Polo - M & W Gear Co. North 

lot (Route 9 East) 

Industrial Tours to be continued 

Roast Beef Supper l^orth Park 

Pre-Spectacle Entcudiiiment 

Second Performance of "Running Deer 

to Soaring Pl'.nes ' 









Friday, July 2 

Chm . - Mr . & Mrs . 

Lloyd Taylor (Ph: 749-2229) 

Special Guest for the Day - Betty Fillip of WCIA-TV 






Displays & Exhibits of interest to 
women - Tent Uptown 
Antique Flea Market - Uptown 
Country Store cont. - Uptown 
Boiiriet Contest - Awards - Categories 
to be announced - Tent Uptown 
Bread ^Taking Contest - Awards - 
Details to be announced - Tent Uptown 
Style S'pow o! 1371 Fashions, featuring 
winners of various costume awaids. 
first Presbyterian Church 
Ire-Spectacle Entertainment 
Third Performance of "Running Deei 
to Soaring Planes" 

Saturday, July 3 

10:30 Time Capsule Ceremonies 



Chm. - Mr. Harold Johnson 

(Ph: 784-5985) 

The parade will assembly at the 

Gibson City Athletic Field and will 

disband at the South Park 
5:30- '':30 Chicken Bar-B-Que - North Park 
7:15 Pre-Spectacle Entertainment 

8:15 Final Performance of "Running Deer 

to Soaring Planes" 

Giant Fireworks Display will follow. 


'■ "Running Deer to Soaring Planes" 

^ 1 ^ II i> % ii|<|i' i i^<» m^^|^ m ^tlf mmmt>t^mmKt^ifmmi0ltk'mmttt^fmmmi^ 


The Gibson City Area Centennial Committee proudly presents. . . 

A John B. Rogers Production 
Directed by h red Illius 

Gibson City High School Athletic Field 
June SO -Julys 

Pre-show 7:30 P.M. 
Show 8 :15 P.M. 

. In the event of inclement weather, or that four episodes of the "Running Deer to Soaring Planes" follows the outline of 
production have not been completed, rain stubs will be history of the city, but certain additions and delitions have 
honored at any subsequent scheduled performance. been made in the interest of total dramatic unitv 

^ iinflf iii"i% 


^ II ^ II ^ 


Dave McNeeley Marjorie Clark 

William S. Middleton Jean Stocker 

Harold Nelson Ruby Smith 

Kay Meredith 

PROLOGUE — Naming Drummer Grove 

Grand Entrance "Happy Birthday" - Meet the cast 

*m ■!» M I Biiip 

EPISODE ONE: "Another Time Another Man' 
EPISODE TWO: "The Land Beckons" 
EPISODE THREE: "The Birth of a Town" 
EPISODE FOUR: "Faith on the Prairie" 
EPISODE FIVE: "A Time to Learn" 

EPtSOOE SIX: Gibsoa City Grows" 
EPISODE SEVEN: "We Move into our Future" 
EPISODE NINE: "Battle Cry" 
EPISODE TEN: "Our Destination" 

Time: 1871 to the Present 
Centennial Patrons 

McCord Auto Supply, Inc. 

Montgomery Ward, Gibson City, 111. 

Speers "^hne Repair 

SctiulzeSi Burcti Biscuit Co. ^ Flavor- K ist Cracker & Cookies 

Gibson United Service, Inc. 

Thipodore Q. Swanson, O.D. 

Dr James Hartford 

Coast To Coast Stores, Gibson City, III. 

Gibson Liquorette Mel and Juanila Yeats 

Oneal's Auto Repair 

H E Mulvany& Son Plljg. & Heat. 

Houtzel Auto Body Shop 

Cfiief City Tobacco Co. 

Prairie Farms Dairy Inc. 

Hol'n One Donut Co. 

Bethany Mf & Sales Co., Inc., Bethany, IM 

McMahon Distributors, Ltd., Champaign, III. 

Ryder Truck Rental 

Howard Thomas Gravel Co. 

Comics Shoe Store 

Edson L. Etherton, M.D. 

Dr. Mark R. Foutch, Optometrist 

Elkin's Tourist Home 

Sts'o Farm Insurance, George R. Mattox, Agent, Elliott, III 

Nl Gas Co. 

Noble Bros 

Ropp's Greenhouse 

Sibley Complete Feed & Grain Service 

Jane Burns Dance Studio 

The Farmers Gram Comoanv 

Dr Robert D Rankin, Dentist 

Hoover Jewelers 

W. D. Kreitzer & Son, Elliott, III. 

Lott's Landing 

Bill Hanson Chev. Buick, Inc., Paxton, III 

O'Neal & Batson TV 

Ken Rost Ford Inc. 

Arlens Drug Shop 

Arthur R. Benz, Attorney 

Smith Sand & Gravel 

Laurel E Pmg 

Bower Automotive Inc. 


Ace Hardware 

Calhoun Dairy Inc. 

Cender Gas Company 

deMola Florists 

L. F Swanson & Son 

Kemple Insurance Agency, Inc. 

Western Auto Associate Store 

The Hessenhaus 

Friendly Flower Shop 

Middleton & Middleton 

Sky work? 

Johnson Auto Repair 

Duggins Electric 


Gibson City Area Centennial Performing Cast - Spectacle 

Brown, Connie 
Colwell, Thelma 
Parker, Wilhelmina 
Ehresman, Maria 
Schroeder, Peg 
Schroeder, Carol 
Kerchanfaut, Dorothy 
Warsaw. Bonnie 
Timm, Mary 
Mizell. Larry 
May, Edward 
Hager. Doug 
Hunt, Jon 
Hawthorne, K. R. 
Helmick, Loel 
Pierce, O. W. 
Cender, Emery 
Hood, Ron 
Hartford, Tom 
Heideman, Toni 
Heideman, Betty 
Eddleman, Kristy Ann 
Johnson, Kris 
Barrow, Debbie 
Stolz, Susan 
Main, Bettie 
Kumler, Joyce 
Rhodes, Connie 
Sharp, Michelle 
Bell, Kay 
Arnold, Raylene 
Smith, Ruby 
Goodrich, Edna 
Smith, Robin 
Oliverio, Mary Ann 
Perkins, Jimmie Joan 
Oliverio, Mary Ann 
Schhckman, Tena 

Smith, Leah 
Bedel, Claudia 
Blissard, Barbra 
May, Don 
Bane, Charles 
Muters, John 
Hall, Tom 
Cook, Wayne 
Perkins, Wayne 
Goff, Doug 
Benningfield, John 
O'Neal, Lorene 
Moore, Margy 
Burton, Patty 
Reitz, Judy 
Kumler. Ethel 
Hill, Diane 
Anderson, Doris 
Troyer, Hazel 
Garard, Lucille 
Rickey, Alma 
Rickey, Connie 
Nelson, Elinor 
Braatz, Debbie 
Nicholas, Melissa 
Perkins, Lorrie 
Retter, Delora 
Johnson, Sharon 
Knapp, Marion 
Brooks, Geneva 
Tompkins, Mary 
Jones, Virginia 
Johnson, Leona 
Roesch, Rick 
Brucker, Jim 
Schlickman, Dick 
Myers, Phil 
Sledge, Shorty 

Schlickman, Dick 
Kingsley, Mick 
Sisk, Lucille 
Ehlers, Glenda 
Ehlers. Linda 
Reynolds, Mae 
Loy, Imogene 
Nickrent, Marie 
Nelson. Virginia 
Young. Doris 
Nelson, Sue 
Goodrich, Percy 
Sfolz, Peggy 
Nelson, Dorie 
Kyle, Nancy 
Young, Fran 
Graff, Patti 
Summers, Jim 
Summers, Mona 
Huston, Howard 
Huston, Yvonne 
Reiners, George 
Reiners, Beulah 
Bell, Buzz 
Woodard, Marie 
Leathers. Evelyn 
Swearingen. Mildred 
Borchers. Ann 
Borchers. Alice 
Brandt, Carolyn 
Stocker, Scott 
Knapp, Kevin 
Knapp, Mike 
Taylor, Steve 
Knapp. Mary 
Roesch, Rick 
Brucker, Jim 
Reynolds, Francis 

Knapp, Doug 
Stocker, Frank 
Stocker, Jean 
Taylor, Mary Ann 
Hill, Jane 
Hill, Bob 
Summers, Bruce 
Gregerson. David 
Heideman, Brian 
Huston, Dorothy 
Cullip, Pauline 
Grider, Gail 
Timm, Jackie 
Fields, Julie 
Long, Bill 
Nelson, DonaW 
Leisure, June 
Hazen, Edwin 
Hazen. Mabel 
Miller. Charles 
Miller, Alvina 
Story, Ruth 
Pruitt, Earl 
Pruitt, Marie 
Pruitt, Sherrie 
Rhodes, Carole 
Rhodes, Don 
Rhodes, Greg 
Rhodes, Jan 
Jenson, Don 
Jenson, Janet 
Gregerson, Richard 
Gregerson, Margaret 
Gregerson. David 
Samet, Bob 
Leonard, Evan 
Leonard, Stanley 
Kingsley, Mick 

Samet, Dolly 
Cook, Maxine 
Cook, Pam 
Whitten, Vandel 
Bedel, Mary 
Bedel, Delmar 
Summers, John 
Summers, Helen 
Brooks, Cindy 
Bedel, Claudia 
Berger, Paul 
Berger, Quida 
Hayse, Annimary 
Hayse, Ronald 
Davis, Cecil 
Davis, Lillie 
Benson, Martha 
Benson. John 
Kroon, Cathy 
Lunde. Julie 
Johnson, Ellen 
Kumler, Jane 
Taylor, Kim 
Mariage, Teresa M. 
Strebeck, Susie 
Nagle, Dave 
Summers, Brenda 
Crowley, Julie 
Smith, Patty 
Smith, Robin 
Olivero, Marianne 
Horsch. Dorothy 
Cender. Sharal 
Cender, Charlene 
Kelley, Lois 
Taylor, Jack 
Woodward. Charlie 
Barrow, Dick 

Hager, Doug 
Cross, Herman 
Huron, Kim 
Jensen, Sandy 
Smith, Chris 
Herrin, Lorrie 
Ferguson, Anne 
Thompson, Treva 
Morano, Maria 
Gesell, Caria 
Jenson, Julie 
Howard, Laurie 
Timm. Lori 
Herrin, Kitty 
Evans, Lynda 
Williams, Susie 
Culbertson, Sherry 
Osborn, Homer 
Osborn, Helen 
Smith, Maurita 
Smith, Christin 
Hill, CarIa 
Nunamaker, Sharon 
Garard, Jerry 
Clark, Pat 
Clark, Mary 
Rhodes, Jan 
Jones, Peggy 
Orr, Jann 
Jackson, Peggy 
Lunde, Patty 
Smith, Robin 
Kyle, Sally 
Parker, Doria 
Parker, Joy 
Perkins, Jerrie Lynn 
Barrow, Tom 
Romine, Ronnie 


Beulah Builta 

Mrs Helen Foster Kelley 

Mr and Mrs Wm. Schnittker 

Mr and Mrs. Raymond Green 

Raymond N. Holm 

Charles F. Hamm 

Mr and Mrs. James A, Taylor 

t^r and Mrs. Wesley Brownlee 

Charles Builta 

Carl Hedlund 

Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd R. Johnson & Mark 

C. A. T Johnson 

D E Craig 

Mrs Harry Baker 

Milton Kelly 

Emery P, Cender 

Jones Motor Sales by Eva B. Jones 

Mr and Mrs, Dike Eddleman 

Chester Burton 

Mr and Mrs W P Loy 

Lester R. Moody 

Darlene Tucker 

Mr and Mrs. Tom Hunt 

Laura Hanley 

Mrs F N Bryant 

Mark Hobart 

Larry Fawver 

Mr and Mrs. Richard Reinhart 

Mrs. Mae Helmick 

Mr and Mrs. Howard Hutchcraft 

Jack Dubois 

Mr and Mrs. Jerry L. Holsten 

Vernon Wilson 

James F. Thompson 

Evelyn M. Thompson 

Norma J Thompson 

Charles p Thompson 

Rickie D Thompson 

Harold Gilbert 

Cornelius Ropp 

Dick Moody 

Mrs. Lori Reynolds 

Jean S, Hall 

Iris Archibald 

E Clinton Conrad 

Mrs, Charlotte Dozier 

Susan Padgett 

Mrs. Verle Kramer 

David Kramer 

Norma Kramer 

Mike Kramer 

Mark Kramer 

Lisa Kramer 

Mr. and Mrs. L. F. Swanson 

Mr. and Mrs. Harold Rhodes 

Tony Lewis 

Mr John Andersen 

Mr. Dave Nagle 

Mr. and Mrs Warren Nally 

Mrs, Rose Tjarks 

James E and Laura Miller 

Mr and Mrs. Elmo Meiners 

Paul W, Sunderland 

Mrs, Gordon Essington 

Mr. Richard Strebeck 

Mr. and Mrs. S. Edmund Cameron 

Mrs. J. L. Finn 

William S. Middleton 

Mr and Mrs. Roy Main 

Mr Frank Denne 

Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Ringler 

Mr. and Mrs. Tracy Shields 

Paul Johnson 

Rudy Ahrens 

Mr Larry Strebeck 

Maurine Haines 

Mr. and Mrs. Weldon Hansen 

Dr. James Hartford 

A. J, McKinney 

Mrs. Jean Stocker 

Mrs. Richard Strebeck, Sr. 

Mr. Richard Strebeck, Sr. 

Mrs. Eldon Thorndyke 

Alice Ogg 

Edward W. Ogle 

Maurine Ogle 

Guy Ogle 

Cecil Ogle 

Mr. and Mrs. Elmo Meiners 

Mr. and Mrs. Richard R. Bennett 8. Jim 

Mrs. Rubie Bane 

Mr. Robert Strebeck 

Leslie E Mulvany 

Jim's Furniture Mart 

R. L. Jordan 

Mr. and Mrs. Arlen B. Reynolds & Michelle 

Dr. A. L. DeMola 

Leonard Y. Bennett 

Clarice Bennett 

Mr. John E. Anderson, Jr. 

Mrs. Beverly Anderson 

Glenn V. Rutledge 

Irene J. Rutledge 

Gerald Rudolph 

Mr and Mrs. Tom Tucker 

Mrs Imogene Smith 

W. Tom Francis 

Helen Francis 

Tom Francis Jr. 

Debbie Francis 

Connie Brown 

Ernest E Brown 


We regret the omission of any names and any incorrect spelling due to the earlv 
deadline for this publication. 

Gibson City Area Centennial 



Mr. and Mrs. Robert Royal 

f^r. and Mrs. Jim Jensen 

Mr. and Mrs. R H. Carlson 

Mr. and Mrs. Larry Ricks 

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hutchcraft 

Mr and Mrs. Rictnard Kemple 

Mr. and Mrs. Harold Davis 

Loel Jordan 

Darren Volker 
Ted Swanson, Jr. 
Dick Jardine 

Frank Stocker 



MEN'S CHAIRMAN Robert P. Boyce 


Ted Swanson 

Darrell Volker 

Frank Stocker 

Ron Sheppard 

Harold Knowles 

Darrell Riblet 

George Kuntz 

Larry Fawver 

Jim Miller 

Ken Fackler 

Bill Fouts 

Ed Rtiodes 

Harold Ttiomas 

Larry Ricks 

Ivan Sloat 

Garland Craig 

Jim Summers 

Tony Heideman 

Ron Stieppard 

Russell Sctimidt 

Jerry Garard 

Homer Osborn 

Dave Yates 

Dike Eddleman 

Howard Ehresman 

Patricia Clark 

Chief Harry Anderson 


Betty Hunt Ctiairman 
Dr Chester Chandler Co Chairman 
Evelyn Dueringer 
Rosemary Schertz 
Sibyl Middleton 
Chloe Barrow 
Bess Johnson 
Valeria Hunt 
William Middleton 
Jon Hunt 

Mary Volden (did all copy work on original history) 


Fred lllius Rogers Company 

Bob Duggins 


Marie Pruitt 
Phyllis Cliff 
Sue Pruitt 


Margaret Anderson 
Phyllis Anderson 
Marcia Wright 
Virginia Ricks 
Esther McClure 
Gretchen Nelson 
Donna Harms 
Imogene Smith 



Janet Noble 

Co CHRMN Mrs. Ruth Bucher 

Helen Francis 

Malinda Bradford 

Helen Day 

Dwanna McCall 

Gere Walter 

Pauline Fuoss 

Dave Herron & Tom Fisher 

Boy Scouts 

Warren Brown 

Lil Fisher 
Jane Burns 
Andy Sommer 
Paul Mooney 
Tom Shubert 
Weldon Hansen 
Glenn Meredith 
Bill Gifford 
Jr Gifford 
Jim Taylor 
Lawrence Comer 
Richard (Snook) Jordan 
Jean Pearson 
James Sommer 
Virgil Rhodes 
' Leigh Ann Bowen 
Cathy Garard 
Sharon Luedde 
Jo Swanson 
Marsha Riddle 

Kay Bell 




Lillian Fisher Co chairman 

Mrs. Frances Reynolds Ray Petersen 


Russell Douglas 

Robert Leisure 

Lee Barry 

Civil Defense 

Police Department 

Ray Bierman • Civil Defense 

Ken Curtis 

Russell Ehlers 

Gene Rankin 

Charlie Dreidame 

Frank Hendricks 

Leonard Bennett 

Richard Bennett 

Harry Ricks 

Harold Johnson 

Bob Duggins 

Jack Walton 

t^d% Hoover 

Bruce Cothern 


Lois Rhodes Dwanna McCall 


Betty Grafton 

Cadette Girl Scouts 


Gibson City Belle Chapters 


Baity, Richard Horsch, Chris Smith, Tim 
Smith, Eric Ensign, Ricky Erickson, 
Chucky Erickson, Arnold Hunt, Robert 
Scott Nickrent, Richard Patrick Nally, 
Joe Thomas, Barry Meers, Tim Meers, 
Kevin KnaDO, Mike Knapp, Mickey 
Taylor, Mark Brownley, Tim Ricks, Brad 
Sprau, Robbie Williams, Peter Wohelski, 
Jeff Bradbury, Eric Timm, Bryan 
Donner, Mark Andreae, Karn Long, 
Dennis Stange, Darren Hester, Vince 
Hester, Craig Patton, Tom Litwiller, Rod 
LitwiMer, Todd Sommer, Scott Yeates, 
Robbie Hix, Brad Tompkins, Allen Lee 
Wilkins, Jon Lee Clark, Don Traister, 
David Traister, William Brokate. 


Henry Sievers, E. H. DeArms, Vernie 
Martin, David Gill, Tom Meers, Lee 
Barry, Howard Ehresman, Earl Pruiff, 
Don Douglas, Roger Birky, T. L. 
Auterman, C. F. Robertson, William 
Bryant, Sherman Bowan, Charles Bowan, 
Charles Van Holland, Joe Brooks, 
Richard W, Strebeck, Sr,,'Orville Hardy, 
Floyd Noland, Scott Miller, Deret 
Moxley, Laacp Moxley, Karry Kistner, 
Eddie Lambert; Richard Davis, Roger 
Smith, Steve Mullvain, Ken Sprau, Lester 
Anderson, Stanley Wisegarner, John R, 
Noble, Weldon Hanson, Ken Meredith, 
Frank Oliviero, Andrew J. Anderson, 
Alva Osman, Fred Friend, Albert 
Schantz, W L Barnhart, John A Burns, 
F. E Walker, Jake Cramer, O. H, 
Saathoff, Jack Branson, Bill BullQifk, 
Paul Sunderland, Gene Gregory, Arnold 
Luedde, C M Gray, Bernard Finis, Virgil 
Stewart, Gene Williams, Fred Carroll, 
Roy Quinn, Charles Letter, John Webb, 
Laurel Ping, Fred Huston, Merle 
Brokate, Melvin Rippel, W C Munson, 
Loren Bane, M L Utterback, Harold 
Bonnen. H. H. Palmer, Alvin C. Koon, 
Kenneth Karr, William Becker, Joe 
Kolross, Melvin Yeats, Clayton Gramley, 
Ora Ferguson, Lynch, Joe Nunnick, Roy 
Schlickman, Jim Mitchell, Henry May, 
Percy Goodrich, Emery Trover, Harlan 
Arens, Stanley W Davis, Robert Taylor, 
Dale Moxley, William Smith, Dick 
Kemple, Ernest Schroeder, Lewis Birky, 
Bud Reynolds, Harm J. Baker, Ernest W. 
Ogg, Don Patton, Rick Goben, Richard D, 
Barnes, William Zimmerman, Lloyd 
Brokate, Jack Fleck, S. Stephens, Eugene 
Swearingen, Earl Pruitt, Ray Oglesby, 
Howard Hutchcraft, Walter H, Arends, 
Bill Arends, Steve Arends, Robert E. 
Birkey, Glenn Hart, Larry Darnall, 
Denny Troyer, William A. Loveless, 
Bobbie Martin, Cecil F. Mott, Nelson C 
Sommer, James E Ross, Walter Taylor, 
Robert McMahon, Edwin Hazen, William 
C DeWall, Jr and Warren Nally 


BEARDED MANY Robert Boyce, 

Robert Leisure, Mark Craig, Lyie Ptoff, 
Don Erickson, Bob Hutchcraft, Jerry 
Girard, Dtan Files, Glen Davis, Doug 
Hager, Jim Hager, Bob Grossman, O. F. 
Reis and George L. Moody. 

TREE BEES Morris Fox, Donald T. 
Kincade, L. DeWayne Grafton, Thomas 
F. Fisher, Henry E Brickman, Gerald K. 
Revenaugh, Glenn A Richard, Robert E. 
Peeken. David K, Kaiser, Charles D. 
Jensen, Wayne A Rittenhouse. Paul V. 
Howard, William L. Everett, Steven R 
Dickey and D Glenn Roop. 

Albert Bode, W. C. Bryant, Michael 
Wilson, Gerald M. Osborn, Clyde Day, 
Ronald Osborn, Homer Osborn, Jerry 
Garard, Frank E, Fox, Dave Hooran, 
Stanley W Davis, Earl Edmonds and Bud 

Girken, Homer Osborn, James Jackson, 
George Stevens, Doug Knapp, Bud O- 
Neal, Michael Wilson, Steve Ort, Clyde 
Cokely, Bobby Welborn, Richie Swaim, 
James Hudson, Charles Dewey, Martin 
Meyer, Howard Moore, Loel Jordan, 
Robert Duggins, Albert Bode, Frank 
Hunt, Jr., Ivan Andreae, Herb Persons, 
Sr,, Micheal Wilson, Lester Lammie, 
Steve Case, Ed Cameron, Robert 
Bradbury, Don Nelson, James Price, 
Clyde Day, Charles Woolward, Glen 
Rutledge, David Nagle, Frank Fox, Glenn 
Meredith, Russell Coulter, Richard 
Horsch, Thomas Mulony, Tom Davis, 
Paul Mooney, Harold W. Underwood, 
Gary Hoover, James Johnson, Harold 
Thomas, Vince Fogarty, Vernon Ralston, 
George Barr, Larry Johnson, Paul 
Verkler, Lynn Bowen, Warren Clark, 
Charles R. Crowley, Earl Edmonds, 
Lester Vinson, Michael AMen, Floyd 
Brotherton, John Kerchenfaut, David B. 
Kramer, Ramon Rankin, Tom Tucker, 
Bill Lindsay, Delmar Schantz , R. H. 
Hutcherson and Robert L. Seelye. 


Charlotte Clark, Margaret Emiy, Patt> 
Emiy, Edna Van Scoyoc, Alice Larrison, 
Melody Peeken, Norma Jean Thompson, 
Barbara Bouldrey, Alice M. Loveless, 
Susan McElfresh, Barb Tucker, Marjorie 
Clark, Margee Ernst, Marge Ernst, 
Arlene Strebeck, ^haron Stroh, Patricia 
Wagner, Vicky Lindsay, Sharon Johnson, 
Lottie Hutcherson, Mary Jo Main, Beckie 
Wieborg, Bobbi Benningfield, Tammy 
Preston, Debbie Preston, Anna Riggs, 
Mary Ann Ricks, Marilyn Zander, Diane 
Hill, Mrs, Gene Rankin, Neva Rankin, 
Lucille Robertson, B6rnia Worley, Velma 
Taylor, Kathy Taylor, Sheri Bryant, Mrs. 
Sherman Bornen, Mrs, Charles Bornen, 
Mrs, Virginia Ricks, Mrs. Gail Kincade, 
Mona Van Antwerp, Lucille Fawnsworth, 
Donna Hoffman, June Leisure, Pat 
Everett, Gladys Marcellus, Jean Hoff 
man, Karen Long, Virginia Underwood, 
Dorothy Bridgewater, Joane Schroeder, 
Julie Anne Sprau, Helen McAfee, Agnes 
Sloth, Barbara Leisure, Katharine K. 
Moody, Carol Leisure, Wilma Crowe, 
Cynthia Crowe, Candace Crowe, Virginia 
Bradley, Gladys Fasking, Becky Ricks, 
Pat Clark, Maria Young, Helen Osborn, 
Alvina Miller, Peggy Fields, Holly Tripp, 
Loretta Kyson, Judy Glascock, Sylvia 
Smith, Pat Schoolcraft, Ruby Bennett, 
Grace Bond, Debbie Brooks, Dorothy 
Brooks, Grace Thorndyke, Leta M. 
Strebeck, Mabel Teter, Marilyn Shields, 
Kathleen Sarah Shields, Leora Shields, 
Mabel Gandy, Barbara Cokeley, Mrs. 
Stroh, Charlotte Nelson, Florence Roop, 
Lola Reynolds, Eva Mae Long, Wilma 
Sommer, Leanoir Null, Hilda Mott, Hope 
Gackay, Donna Hansen, Janet Clements, 
Marge Bod«, Debbie Johnson, Leiia A. 
Cender, Violet Peeken, Margaret Nelson, 
Katrina Dewey, Florene Knab, Helen 
Kemple, Janet Stocker, Lorene Raper, 
Bessie Oakley, Pat Lambert, Lillia> 
Deason, Gladys Dow, Mary Lange, 
Margy Moore, Ida Mustafa, Sybil 
Kramer, Alyce Preston, Lillian Hardy, 
lleane Miller, Doretta Johnson, Jodi 
Miller, Shannon Miller, Helen Schmidt 

Mrs. Hutchison, Carolyn Moxley, Carol 
Schroeder, Barb Williams, Jessie Davis, 
Blance Andrews, Leona Hartford, Mary 
Ann Taylor, Dorothy Shellman, Shirley 
Reynolds, Pat Marten, Sharon Rigby, 
Bonnie Byerly, Shelia Wittaker, Flora 
Price, Phyllis Chambliss, Judy Reitz, 
Sherry Reitz, Vicky Rietz, Vil Anderson, 

Sharon Yates, Laura Sawyer, Marie 
Campbell, Hilda Preston, Elsie H. Barr, 
Frances Retter, Delora Lynn Retter, 
Betty Bradbury, Sally Rohn, Ellen 
Frieburg, Martha Fasking, Mildred 
Forrest, Mrs. W A. Dusola, Janallee 
Noble, Violet Taylor, Julia McGuire, 
Cheryl Hester, Eita Craig, Nancy 
Olivero, Wilma Duggins, Gesina Nelson, 
Mrs. Osman, Hazel Archibald, Grace 
Hanley, Cindy Hanley, June Ogg, Georgia 
Page, Wilma Andreae, Betty Hunt, Sherri 
Fawver, Carol King, Helen Cornelison, 
Louise Schantz, Thelma Arobus, Thelma 
Persons, Laurie Persons, Mona Sum- 
mers, Elvera Sheppleman, Betty Vinson, 
Claudia Strebeck, Beverly Arnold, 
MariorieMiller, Linda Livingston, Carole 
Netherton, Jane Burns, Betty Sallee, 
Mary Lou Kelley, Mabel Martens, 
Thelma Brook, Marjorie Lowry, Bertha 
Morris, Mrs. Roy Boyd, Catherine Kin- 
cade, lla Spry, Susie Branson, Betty 
Keath, Laverne Johnson, Laura Hanley, 
Mrs. Edgar Cullip, June Stange, 
Margaret Harding, Ruby Lange, Carol 
Bullock, Mildred Sunderaind, Evelyn 
Lange, Wilma Tandy, Linda Page, Alice 
Shields, Dorothy Shields, Rose Ann 
Hardwick, Kathy Bond, Berandine 
Bryant, Ruth Oglesby, Bessie Price, 
Mabel Kend«r, Rose Day, Virginia 
Williams, Sharia Williams, Liz Hanson, 
Janet Hanson, Kathryn Dreidane, 
Beverly Arnold, Melba Quinn, Shirley 
Jackson, Nancy Main, Mrs. Lester An- 
derson, Karen Doman, Wanda Austle, 
Hazel Gandy, Marica Walker, Betty 
Grider, Edie Grider, Gail Grider, Mrs. 
Glen Rutledge, Alta Waggoner, Mae 
Gardner, Annette Matthew, Gladys 
Smock, Barbara Leisure, Lorette Bode, 
Terry Fox, Lois Friese, Joyce Wilson, 
Mrs. Walker, Mrs. Merle Brokate, Ina 
Lund, Lorrenne Zick, Ethel M. Arm 
strong, Anna Johnson, Ethel Munson, 
Hazel Mooney, Mrs. Albert Wilson, 

Thelma Colwell, Pauline Busby, 
Beverley Coons, Helen Kelley, Imogene 
Graff, Ellen Johrrson, Mrs. Johnson, 
Evelyn Hendrickson, Ana Taylor, Sandra 
Dial, Helen Hill, Geneva Lindsey, Mae 
Brading, Diana Coulter, Beverly 
Conover, Francis Kollross, Gloria 
Carlson, Clara Mae Gramley, Wilhelmina 
Parker, Annetta Seamonds, Ruth Ann 
Williams, Christine Ferguson, Mrs. 
Lynch, Barb Cavinder, Elaine Collett, 
Fern May, Mary Eckhoff, Mrs Richard 
Horsch, Eileen Randolph, Joyce Goff, 
Gretchen Nelson, Mrs. Emery Troyer, 
Mrs. Harold Medler, Diana Ceilings, 
Margaret Blissard, Berenice Crowley, 
Ellen Crowley, Genieve Fogies, Emma 
Ann Davis, Menola Donner, Mrs. Robert 
Taylor, Bessie Moxley, Lora Brown, Lucy 
Ruck, Lil Anderson, Marie Hohn, Linda 
Lynch, Mary Lou Kyle, Marlene Walkers, 
Kathy Smith, Pauline Ort, Verona 
Thomas, Anna Martin, Mrs. Hildur 
Johnson, Mrs Russel Martin. Mrs. 
Wayne Perkins, Ruth Swanson, Mrs Sam 
Doman, Madelon Girkin, Ruth Loy, Carol 
Barry, Helen Tate, Hope Zachary, Eva 
^f\ae Loy, Wilma Sommers, Leanoir Null, 
Hilda Mott, Bessie Rasmussen, Mrs. 
Roger Birkey, Sherri Birkey, Laurie 
Birkey, Mrs. Don Smith, Tina Baumen, 
Juda Baumen. Beverly Fight, Edna 
Auterman, Dorothy Tinicke, Leona 
Evans, Susan Ivans, Gert Friese, Delores 


Friese, Anna Jardine, Jean Jardine, 
Esther Sparks, Mrs Bob Hill, Beulah 
Oneal, Gertrude Hutcticraft, Maxine 
Arends, Nellie Hudson, Lisa Moore, 
Kattiryn Cameron, Ann Gale, Pearl Gale. 
Linda Gardner, uariene Harper, Barbara 
Rafferty, Evelyn Puis, Stiirkey Peeken, 
Ann Hall, Marlene Shreves, Dorothy M. 
Gilmore, Willa Hart, Topy Wierzoriek, 
Lena Smith, Frances Bonnen, Carolee 
Cook, Dorothy Smith, Carmen Karr, Mrs. 
George E. Smart, Janite K. Barnes, 
Dorothy Barnes Betty Brokate, Betty 
Schroeder, Eana Hudson, Mrs Freddie 
Fogarty, Fredda Gamley, Pauline Mott, 
Mrs Raymond Repp, Betty Oneal, Mrs. 
Percy Goodrich, Mrs Ivan Brucker, 
Betty Copher, Margaret Copher, Daisy 
Darnall. Deana Johnson, Mrs. Joyce 
Lange, Anita Houran, Virginia Kingsley, 
Mrs Dav.o Mott, .Mrs Willis J Sommer, 
Lucille Garard, Lielores Walker, Dorothy 
Suntken Bermce Hustedt, Betty Meiners, 
Linda Walker, Linda Hunt, Evelyn 
Byerline, Bonnie Rutledge, Ella Speedie, 
Mrs. Herb Smith, Mary Loveless, Marsha 
Lage, Bertha Mott, Jennie Quinley, Sarah 
Tabbs, Eva Steinberg, Judy A. Prehn, 
Marie Whaiion, Loretia wooaward. Rose 
Marie Birkey Charlotte Clark, 

Laurie Bradbury, Connie Rickey, 
Connie Frieburg, Kristin Mc Guire, 
Sherrie Culbertson, Daria Forrest, Lori 
Timm, Prudence Donner, Christine 
Donner, Janie Andreae, Karen Long, 
Beth Fawver, 

Beth HutchcrafI, Loi i Hu< 
chcraft, Carole Netherton, Pafti Yeats, 
Barb Barry, Mildred Shaner. Ire.i- 
Sti.veis Diana Hester, Shelley Rowclitt Brock, Laura Hix, Linda Hunt, 
Jan Hunt, Venessa Taylor, i_orrie 
Perkins, Vonda Coulter Sherri A/.i.Rit, 
Robin Smith, Anna Sievers, Tif'ani 
Sommer, -sAaigy V^alker, Lisa Walker, 
.lerrie Perkins, Brenda Crrssman, V/ilson 
jirls, Cindy Dial, Lola Williains, Vicky 
Williams, Julia Tompkins, I isa Tom 
JKins, Angle Eckhoff, Julia Crowley, 
Kristie Sue Mckrent, Shannon Marie 
i-znch, Terry McCarthy, Delene Riblet, 
Roberta May, Tami Brokate, 
Charlotte Tubbs, Alice Tubb"., Carta 
Gesell, Sherrie Pruitt, Tenna Clift, Keria 
Riblet, Kathy Riblet, Mubelle Lee 
Johnson, Patty Lange, Kelly Tapscott, 
Kim Tapscott. 


SUNBONtJET sues Jennie Allen, 

Jiana Acree, Mar,- Sommer, Ann 
rolne. n, Phyliis Brickman, Marie 
deckel, Gladys Arnola, Velva Acree, 
v^ai .a irhlick, Betty Perry, Serita Allen, 
Wi garet • .- " ijret Brandt, Pat 
- eiJs, K; .".arlena Deasor, 

zu. na An "■ a Wicks, DeLoris 

c.nay, Ljneii boroeis, Janice Mills, 
Aary Me -ers, Florence Wright, Ruby 
-icr', Evtiyn Fawver, Phyllis Acree, 
Ann D'inlap, Cindy Shaw, Laritt Reynols, 
Tarr.'i. Allen, Juanita Yeats, Paula 
Yeats, Virginia Mouser, Reba McGuire, 
E. Standley, Bernice Singer, Dorothy 
Oakes, Alice Acree, Betty Trhlick and 
Vera Marcellus. 

GUTHRIE BELLES Evelyn Leathers, 
Doris Rutledge, Mildred Swearingen, 
Cecilia Anderson, Rose Tjarks, Daisy 
Brownlee, Alma Richey, Betty Ralston, 
Anna Borchers, Irene Meyers, Ann 
Holsten, Myrrle Borchers, Bess Johnson, 
Hilda Blum, Gertrude Marcellus, Marie 
Oodson, Hazel Enghausen, Kathryn 
Cameron, Carolyn Brandt, Mabel Welsh, 
Elizabeth Colwell, Alice Borchers, Mabel 
Hazen, Lucille Piatt, Louise Swearingen, 
Laura Steinhelper, Ginga Blizzard, 
Marcia Leathers, Mary Beth Leathers, 

Gibson City Belle Chapters 

Ethel Ulfers ana janice Bond. 

Bell, Betty Heideman, Judy Reitz, 
Beverly Hendricks, Christine Hazen, Lil 
Fisher, Nancy Timm, Anna Marie 
Taylor, Liz Hansen, Jackie Curtis, Betty 
Knapp, Cheryl Fox, Doria Parker, Linda 
Persons, Viola Finis, Mildred Perkins, 
Doris Arnold, Kathy Carpenter, Mary 
Lou Miller, Ruby Smith and Wilma 

Virginia Underwood, Aileen Unouiwood, 
Margaret O'Neal, LaVonne Moody, Mary 
Jane Patton, Mary Carroll Hansen, 
Delorice B3ity, Thelma Young, Marge 
Kreiter, Deanna Saver, Marge Peters and 
Pam Jordan 

B & P W DOLLS Donna Harms, Doris 
Anderson, Leta Z. Hay, Hoover, 
Carol Hutcncraii, Phyllis Anderson, 
Leona Johnson, Phyliss Leonard, Hazel 
Troyer, Marinell Jones, Vivian Comer, 
Geneva Brooks, Margaret Anderson, 
Mildred McQuiggan, Rena Wiles, Fern 
Carroll, Juanita Boyce, Marilyn Riblet, 
Virginia Ryan, Genevieve Nickrent, 
Pauline Brooks, Imogene Swarm, Vauna 
Jones, Sharon Jones, Louise Thompson, 
Ethel Kumler, Margaret Wright, Alice 
Jesse, Lou Evea Tesch, Carta Sue 
Rowcliffe and Marcia Wright. 

( averna Remley, Loretta Riley, Mattie 
Cender, Emma Riblet, Frances Bane, 
Ethel Faye May, Mabic O Neal, Lorene 
ONeal, Mrs. Gene, Phyliss Cliff, 
Maria Bane, Florence Rhodes, Emma 
Coll. Lyda Cender, Alice Sommer, Mary 
Cline, Mary Nickel, Wilma Hendricks, 
Anna Oliviero, and Frances Becker. 

DAINT^ CYNO'S — Sharon J. Hieser, 
Vera H. Bsne, Susie Oyer, Phyliss M. 
Anderson, Elaine W Hawthorne, Jean 
Droll inspr. Bar bar Heuli, Delia Tipsord, 
Pai Lindauer, Mary S'ei.ilicht, Joyce E. 
Nally, Susie Hoffman, Linda C. Ganssen, 
Sandy Reynolds, Wanda Jacobs, Susan L. 
i. iiidelof, Kathy Schultz, Susan Simmons, 
Linda Lindelof, Pat Drake and Cleona 

BUSTLE BELLES — Jean Stocker, Judy 
Peterson, Karen May, Judy Glascock, 
Phyllis Donner, Regina Johnson, Mary 
Knapp, Evelyn Patton, Beth Vyverberg, 
Gail Seamonds, Susan Strebeck, Marilyn 
Riblet, Mary Jane Hill and Jo Swanson. 

Dewey, Mrs. Russell Douglas, Mrs. 
Darrel Kroon, Mrs. Donald Douglas, Mrs. 
Thomas Rhodes, Mrs. Phyllis Coons, Mrs. 
Mary Rainwater, Mrs. Janice Mc 
Cul.ou^ii, Karen Rhodes and Connie 

Geneva Calhoun, Jac Walker, Val Hunt, 
Jean Hunt, Margaret Hunt, Gayle Hager, 
Darlene Tucker, Marti Hager, Helen Day 
and Jan Noble. 

Johnson, Clarice Bennett, Ethel L 
Zimmerman, Mae Meredith, Sandra 
Meredith, Sylvia M. Weidner, Gladys 
Wallis, Wanda Curtis, Mikki Boyd, Ellen 
Boyd, Jane Bush, Eva Cook, Cecelia 
Anderson, Edna Schnittker, Freeda 
Bedel, Bea Warman, Dorothy Rudolph, 
Susan Rudolph, Barbara L^onsand Sonia 

GIBSON GIRLS Marion Knapp, Olive 
Bertram, Eunice Jones. M^rv Tomokins, 
Alice Ogg, Jean Hall, Betty Mooney 

Joyce Kumler, Rosemary Lehman, and 
Marilyn Steinman. 

SOYA BELLES Freeda Speers, Joann 
Pearson, Cathy Goff, Gretchen Nelson, 
Margaret Tongate, Caria Gravlin, Sharon 
Nunamaker, Patti Graff, Bette Lain, 
Imogene Smith, Margaret Rando, Audrey 
Rotjertson, Donna Lindelof, Bettie Main, 
Clara F McNarny, Darlene Be'i and 
Susie Thackeray. 

PAPER DOLLS Brenda Welbourn, lla 
Kumler, Norma Kramer, Val Hunt, Hazel 
Witt, Jean Hunt, Virginia Christensen, 
Johanna Giseburt, Nadine Tomblin, 
Sandi Craig, Linda Gregory, Ann Roop, 
DorIa Parker, Rita Peters, Marie Garvis, 
Ethel Woolley, Helen Andreae, Linda 
Barrow, Joyce Hix, Jean Schertz, Cheryl 
Hester, Vicki Richard, Jane Ferguson 
and Sharon Asher. 

V.F.W BELLES Imogene Ping, Nadine 
Tomblin, Eileen Schutte, Wilma Hen 
dricks, Marion Warder, Mildred Taylor, 
Jean Crossman, Betty Pearson, Pam 
Brown, Mary Jensen, Zelma Bane, Oleta 
Lantz, Elma Stewart, Wilma Tandy, 
Anna Andreae, Shirley Benson, Susan 
Douglas and Kay Bane. 

GOLD DUSTERS Violet Schmidt, Liz 
Kumler, Frances Oneal, Frances Mc 
Mahon, Nan Bright, Margo Martin, Jean 
Goslin, Mary Ann Grider, Nancy Kumlpr, 
Claudia Murphy, Rose Godsey and Jan 

JOYFUL BELLES Chloe R Barrow, 
Mrs. Loyal Dickerman, Elizabeth Elkin, 
Mrs. Paul Elkin, Mrs Mabelle Farlin, 
Mrs. Lula Farris, Mrs. Stanhope Foster, 
Mrs. Blanche Hollen, Helen Foster 
Kelley, Mrs. Grave Moody, Mrs. Roy 
Schlickman, Mrs. C. L, Shaner, Mrs. 
Doris Tiardes, Mrs Mont Utterback, 
Mrs. Ralph Warfield, Mrs. George Stolz 
and Mrs. Richard Schertz. 

Virginia Nelson, Doris Young, Imogene 
Loy, Margaret Gregerson, Bonnie 
Warsaw, Liia Rankin, Marcia Nickrent, 
Linda Ehlers, Marion Green, Mary Alice 
McRae, Shirley Reynolds, Lucille Sisk, 
Sally Reynolds, Nellie Osborne, Neva 
Rankin, Fran Young, Patricia Cribelor, 
Betty Young, Helen Ernest and Margaret 

OLIVE FOLEY Mrs. A. W. Johnson, 
Mrs. Elizabeth Salyards, Mrs. Harlan 
Arens, Mrs, Howard Ehresman, Mrs. Don 
Schroeder, Mrs, James Mitchell, Miss 
Gladys Dueringer, Miss Evelyn 
Dueringer, Mrs. Raymond Gill, Mrs. 
Warren Nally, Mrs. Emma Kidd, Mrs. 
Lena Shields, Mrs. Pauline Fuoss, Mrs. 
Sylvia Hatterberg, Mrs, F. E. Walker, 
Mrs, Chester Chandler, Mrs, Agnes M. 
Simms, Mrs. Josephine M FitzHenry, 
Mrs Hazel Boyer, Mrs. Sibyl Middleton, 
Mrs. Mary Frances "Stubbert, Mrs. 
Harold Buesing, Mrs. Lee Barry and Mrs. 
C. F. Robertson. 

Huston, Jenedia Jenson, Pauline Cullip, 
Buohlah Reiners, Vandel Whitten, 
Dorothy Huston, Emma Jensen, Dot 
Nelson, Wilma Giffard, Minnie Huston, 
Elinor Nelson, Eleanor Stolz, Pauline 
Helmick and Gladys Taylor 

GARBER BELLES Helen Cramer, 
Bessie Cater, Clara Thedens, LaVonne 
Riblet, Jessie Roesch, Etta Beck, Grace 
Bielfeldt, Ann Brokate, Edna Brokate, 
Ella Clausen, Maxine Cook, Edna Sandor, 
Anna Schroeder, Clara Schroeder, Elsie 
Schroeder, Cora Glascock, Le Etta Bane, 
Ann Beck, Kathy Riblet and Kate 


(ORGANIZATIONS — continued from page 51) 


Down Ihrough the years the progress of Gibson City has 
been in a larce part, the result of work by its Chamber of 

The Gibsop City Chamber of Commerce has been sup- 
ported by progressive business people. It was responsible for 
assisting the "ndiana - based Central Soya Company to locate 
its second plant - first in Illinois - in Gibson City. Central Soya 
soon became the largest employer in the community, and a 
■■good citizen ", with its contributions of money and materials 
for many civic causes, and the donation of time by many of 
its executives and employees. 

The Gibson Chamber of Commerce played a large part in 
locating the M & W Gear Company plant in the mid - 1960s at 
the south edge of the community. The company had its start 
at Anchor, where it grew so rapidly that it soon needed larger 
quarters, a larger labor pool, and access to greater tran- 
sportation possibilities than were available at Anchor. The 
company became Gibson City's largest employer by 1970. as 
it climbed to the top of ■'short line " farm machinen.- 
manufacturers in the nation. 

The original Gibson Canning Company, sponsor of one of 
the finest amateur basketball teams in the United States at 
one lime, named -Yours Truly " after the firm's popular 
brand name, was later acquired by Stokely - Van Camp. The 
company cans sweet corn, sweet peas and lima beans, and is 
an important seasonal employer. It is of considerable other 
economic value because of the large acreage it owns and 
contracts from others for its crops. 

As Gibson City reached its Centennial year, a number of 
other important local industries had been located in the 
community largely through the efforts of the Gibson 
Chamber of Commerce. Among them are the Nation - Wide 

Glove Co., Shaffer Spring Co., and Electronics Components, 

Davis Welding and Manufacturing Co. was a hometown 
industry that grew with the development of new products, 
Kramer Publishing Co. became the central printing plant for 
the Gibson City Courier and seven other area weekly 
newspapers. Noble Bros, was a major seed merchandiser in 
the country. 

But the Gibson Chamber of Commerce did more than at- 
tract new industries and encourage the growth of already 
existing companies. It annually sponsors and finances 
downtow-n Christmas lighting and decorations, and brings 
Santa Claus to town each year for visits with children of the 
community just before Christmas. Merchants sponsor 
periodic Dollar Days and Sidewalk Days events, as well as 
other special events for the budget - minded in the Gibson 
City trading area. 

The Chamber for years has sponsored, together with 
farmers of the community, the annual Community Sale 
event, on the first Thursday of March. The organization 
annually recognizes the '■Outstanding Citizen", and one year 
named the entire volunteer Gibson City Fire Department for 
the honor. 

In many other ways the members of the Gibson Chamber 
of Commerce have acted to promote the betterment of the 
Gibson City community in all ways. Its membership consists 
not only of merchants and business men and women, but of 
those in the professions and the senice occupations, 
representatives of local industries and utilities, and 
ministers of the community's churches. 

The Gibson City community is today what it is because of 
the efforts of many organizations and individual citizens, and 
the Gibson Chamber of Commerce has earned a large part of 
the credit. 


1949 - 


1950 - 


1951 - 


1952 - 


1953 - 


1954 - 


1955 - 


1956 • 


1957 - 


1958 - 


1959 ■ 


1960 ■ 


1961 ■ 


1962 ■ 







• 1966 




■ 1968 




■ 1970 


- 1971 


- 1972 

John (Jack) Bradford 
Lyie Edel 
Wally Lamb 
Clifford Shaner 
D. S. Stoker 
John Carson 
Clifford Orr 
Verle Kramer 
Verle Kramer 
Frank Hunt Jr. 
Wes Calhoun 
William S. Middleton 
Les Lammie 
Jim Hager 
David Kramer 
Orren Pierce 
Jon Hunt 
Emery Cender 
Max Hoover 
Dick Kemple 
George Stevens 
Ernie Brown 
Jim Thompson 

This page sponsored by 
Jim's Food Center and Arends & Sons 


Charter officers of the BPVV were (seated, from left) Mrs. Imogene Smith, Mrs. 
Eleanor Gilmore and Mrs. .Mice Ogg: (standing) Mrs. Esther Hamburg. Mrs. 
Darlene Tucker and Mrs. Jane Burns. 


The Business and Professional Women's Club of Gibson 
City was chartered June 19. 1964. with 54 members. At the 
enci of the first year there were 100 members. 

Membership is open to any woman in the area who is a 
professional or business woman, and gets a regular pay 
check. The purpose is to elevate the standard for women in 
business and professions. 

The charter officers were Mrs. Eleanor Gilmore, 
president, who was also the president the second year; Mrs. 
Alice Ogg, first vice president; Mrs. Darlene Tucker. 2nd 
vice president; Mrs. Imogene Smith, recording secretary; 

Mrs. Jane Burns, corresponding secretary; and Mrs. Esther 
Hamburger, treasurer. 

Other presidents have been Mrs. Alice Ogg. Mrs. Imogene 
Smith, Mrs. Margaret Anderson. Mrs. Fern Carroll and Mrs. 
Phyllis Anderson. Mrs. Marmell Jones will be serving as 
president next year. 

The club has a dinner meeting at one of the churches on the 
third Tuesday of each month. 

The four people responsible for organizing the club were 
Mrs. Margaret Smith. Mrs. Eleanor Gilmore. Mrs. Alice Ogg 
and Mrs. Llovd Patterson. 


On July 7. 1938. in the home of Mrs. M. Malone. the Gibson 
City Junior Woman's Club was organized. There were 43 
members. Meetings were held the second and fourth Monday 
evenings of each month in the American Legion rooms of the 
old library. By the end of the year the club had a membership 
of 70. 

The first officers were Genevera Carlson, president; Helen 
Ogg, vice president; Lucille Miller, secretary; Doris Tjar- 
des, treasurer: Zola Ropp. leader and Mrs. M. Malone. 
senior advisor. 

On December 28. 1938. a Christmas Charity Ball was held 
in the K. P. Hall to help finance their first project - - a milk 
fund the the grade school. They cleared $36.00 and it was 
deemed a great success. 

As the membership grew smaller, home's of members 
were used as the meeting place. During the late 1940's and 
50's bi-monthly meetings were held at the Woman's Club 
Memorial Building as membership reached a high of some 80 
members. The club was very active in raising funds for the 
Girl Scout Cabin in the late 1950's. 

In Centennial year 1971 (33 years later) the Gibson City 
Junior Woman's Club has a membership of 15. They meet the 
second Thursday evening of each month at member's homes. 

The officers for 1971 - 72 are Mrs. John Bell, president; 
Mrs. James Hazen, vice president: Mrs. Tom Fox, 
secretary; and Mrs. Robert Hendricks, treasurer. 

The organization is a volunteer service group offering 
many different fields of interest, ^ome of our community 

projects are baking cookies for the hospital and Gibson 
Manor, planting flowers in the North Park each spring, the 
student loan fund, the migrant council and sponsoring a Girl 
Scout troop, to name a few. Federation projects include 
Brain Research, Scholarships for Teachers of Exceptional 
Children, National Association for Retarded Children, 
Project Concern and many others. 

Our main fund raising project has been the sale of Trick of 
Treat candy sold annually in the month of October. 

The General Federation of Women's Clubs, of which we are 
a member, is the largest woman's organization in the world. 


charter members 

■Worship Master; 

Westrope - J. W.; 

Wm. Cornell. Jr 

Gibson Lodge No 733 Ancient Free and Accepted Masons 
first received its charter in October 1875. There were 41 
They are listed below: Henry A. Raney - 
Freeman S. Church - S. W.; Wm. A. 
Caleb McKeever, Samuel A. Thompson, 
, John H. Gaston, Ferry L. Leonard, 
Napoleon Snyder. Jas. R. Lott, Joshua E. Davis, Samuel A. 
Armstrong. John McKay. Frank C. McDowell, Thomas C. 
Wilson, Jos. N. Putney. Cornelius Dyer, Samuel J. LeFevre, 
Thaddeus S. Collins, 'John H. Bulger, Geo. S. Eggleston, 
Walter H. Cornell, Wm. M. Bailey. Chas. H. Yeomans, 
Thomas H. Kingsley, W, S. McLead. Wm. H. Simms, 
Timothy Ross. Geo. McNabney. Geo. W. Wood, Geo. 
MuUendore, Chas. P. Younggreen, .Anderson L. Ballard, 
Dwight A. Dungan, John R. Gilchrist, Lester S. Heath, James 
N. Hoskins. John H. Collier. Andrew Jordan, Joshua R. 
McClelland, Chas. E. Wilson. 

There have been at least two meeting places. One was 
above what is now Rose's Shoppe. How long they met there is 
not certain. Many of the records were destroyed by a fire. 
The present meeting place, above Loy's Store, was originally 
Lambs Furniture Store and Funeral Home. They have been 
meeting there for the last 50 to 60 years. At one time the 
Commandery also met in the present lodge hall. 

The photo is of Brother Arthur E. Wood, who transferred to 
Gibson Lodge in 1901. Brother Wood had the great honor of 
being elected Grand Master of Masons of the State of Illinois. 
This honor comes to few men. Brother Wood was elected in 
1923. Due to ill health he resigned after one year of service of 
what is a two year term. He passed away in 1926. 

The lodge membership now, 96 years later, exceeds 235 and 
is a very active organization. 


Lillian Rebekah Lodge No. 146 was instituted Nov. 18, 1885, 
with 22 members. During the years between 1885 and 1970 a 
total of 705 have held membership in the lodge. 

At present the membership is 18, including four 50 - year 

Mrs. Mayme Gilmore was the Noble Grand when the order 
was instituted in Gibson City. Her husband, Ira, was active in 
the Odd Fellows Lodge. Mrs. Lola Reynolds is currently 
serving as Noble Grand and Mrs. Lulu Phares as Vice Grand. 

The Odd Fellow Lodge No. 542 built the building now owned 
by the American Legion. It was built in 1913 or '14. The 
building contractor was George C. Pinkley and the building 
committee was composed of J. A. Shaw, Ira Gilmore, N. B. 
Tyler, Fred Harm and J. P. Myers. After the building was 
sold, the Rebekah Lodge moved to a room over the Oscar 
Buesing Pool Hall. In 1965 this building burned and 
everything was lost. The Rebekah Lodge moved to the First 
Christian Church and presently meets in the new church 


The Gibson City woman's club was organized in October, 
1895, as a study group with a membership of 25 women in the 
home of Mrs. J. B. Foley with Mrs. Emmanuel Lowry as 
assistant hostess. 

Meetings were held in the homes until a room in Moyer 
Library became available. From that time the membership 
has increased to 100 or more. 

In 1920 the club became federated with the state; in 1924 
with the 17th district, in 1933 with the county and with the 
general federation in 1945. 

The woman's club has helped with many welfare and civic 
projects over the years, in co - operation with other groups 
and has contributed generously to several community funds. 

In 1956 Mrs. Edna Phillips Coal, a long time member, 
bequeathed the Gibson City Woman's Club the sum of $15,000 
to purchase a club house. This money, minus an inheritance 
tax bought the partly constructed building at the corner of 
North Church and 18th Streets where the Woman's Club 
Memorial Building now stands, and completed the structure. 
Club meetings and other gatherings are held there. 


Modern Woodmen of America, a fraternal organization, 
established camp no. 235 in Gibson City early in the 19O0's 
and still has an active group of members which hold monthly 
meetings. This camp had a very active drill team that 
traveled around Central Illinois putting on the work of the 


The Gibson City Coin Club was organized in October of 
1964. It has a present membership of 25 active members who 
were asked by the area centennial committee to help with the 
programs. Harold Underwood and Robert Grossman were 
appointed to represent the club and with a few suggestions 
from different people, they drew a sketch and designed the 
medallion which the centennial committee accepted. 



The Gibson City Rotary Club was organized June 16, 1964, 
and held its charter night September 2-t. iyH-1 

The club meets each Wednesday night at Jake and Kate's. 

Rotarians of Gibson City were presented the District 649 
Community Service Award in 1970 and 1971 for participation 
in community activities. 

Some of their community service projects include: 
Providing benches and play equipment at Lowry Park; 
assist in sponsoring a nursing scholarship; sponsor a 
delegate to Boy's State ; financially support the Student Loan 
Fund; co-sponsors of the annual All-Sports Banquet 
honoring high school athletes; maintenance of steam engine 
in the south park; sponsor annual flea market; 

Provided new water fountain in business district; sponsor 
music scholarship; recognition of scholars; gun safety 
program ; bicycle safety program ; installed sewer drain and 
brought in water and installed toilets in Boy Scout Cabin in 
south park; invested $500 in Gibson City Centennial 

Officers of the club during 1970 - 71 are Dick Moody, 
president; Lee Barry, vice president; Art Benz, secretary; 
and Bill Anderson, treasurer. 

Other membes who have served president of the club are 
as follows: Charles Hamm, Larry Williams, David Gill. 
Charles Crowley, Donald Trotter and Kenneth Meredith. 


Royal Neighbors of America, Fraternal Life Insurance, 
was founded as a social group in 1888. It was known as the 
Ladies auxiliary to the Modem Woodsmen of America. 

Royal Neighbors of America was chartered as a fraternal 
benefit society in Illinois, March 21, 1895. 

The first Supreme office was located in Peoria, 111., in 1894. 
In 1908 the National Headquarters were moved to Rock 
Island, 111. and are still located there. 

Notice to the effect that R.N. A. ceased to be an auxiliary to 
Modern Woodsmen was published in July 1929. 

The Royal Neighbor Home for the benefit of aged mem- 
bers, was built in Davenport, Iowa, and dedicated July 18, 

In September 1961, the R.N.A. fraternal scholarship 
program was authorized by the Board of Supreme Directors, 
offering scholarships on a compettive basis to young adult 
members of the Society, 

April 6, 1900, Gibson, 111. received its R.N.A. charter for 
adults. The petition for the charter was signed by: Dr. 0. A. 
Coss. Dr. F. B. Lorell, Mrs. Martha Jordon, Mrs. Ida 
Swanson, Mrs. Lottie Swanson, Mrs. Luella Brown, Mrs. 
Julia Prince, Ms. Emma Grim. Mrs. M. Christensen, Mrs. 
Calnie Grapes, Mrs. Rosa Claypool. Mrs. McDowell, James 
Jordon, Mrs. Pernia Keith, 0. C. Keith, Mrs. Ashby, Mr. M. 
Christensen, Mr. Wm. Rick, Mrs. Rick, Mr. C. W. Brown, 
Miss Christensen. 

The society first held their meetings in the Woodsmen Hall 
and also the K.P. Hall. The first line of officers installed 
were: Oracle - C. W. Brown; past oracle - Miss Christensen; 
vice oracle - Emma Grim, chancellor - Ida Swanson; 
recorder-Pernia Keith; receiver-Martha Jordon; marshall- 
Julia Prince; ass't marshal - Mrs. Amanda Ashby; inner 
sentinel - Lottie Swanson; outer sentinel - James Jordon; 
manager - Mr. 0. C. Keith; manager - Mrs. Calnie Grapes; 
manager - Mrs. Rosa Claypool; physicians - Dr. Lorell and 
Dr. Coss. 

Gibson City received the Juvenile Charter on Jan. 6, 1920 


and the names of the first juveniles were inscribed on the 
charter as follows: Robert Chippendale, Faye Johnson, 
Gladys Leonard, Mattie McAtee, Frances Poplett, Leah 
Thomas, Evan Rick, Lola Sawyer, Bertha Swanson, 
Theodore Q. Swanson, Guy Thomas. 

Gibson City was host irl 1970 for the Ford County R.N.A 
49th Convention. R. N. A. met in the American Legion Hall 
for a number of years and now meet at the Del-Co cafe. 


A preliminary meeting was called Sept. 23, 1919, to 
organize a chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star in Gibson 
City The following people were present: Mrs. Vina Barrow, 
Miss Elizabeth Bartlett, Mrs. Margaret Grant Main, Mrs. 
Pcarle Eggleston, Mrs. Mary D. Bartlett, Mrs. Fannie E. 
Cooper, Mrs. Hester Wilson, Mrs. Lucile Denne, Mrs. Nettie 
Gill, Mrs. Maude Means, Miss Elizabeth Shaner, Mrs. Delia 
Lamb Mrs. Cleo Lamb. Mrs. Cora Barnhart, Mrs. Lena 
Denne, Miss Anna Day. Mrs. Maude Tatman Schumaker, 
Mrs. Martha J. Crammond, Mrs. Zaidee Phillips, Mrs. 
Margaret A. Wash. Mr. Bryson Strauss, Mrs. Gertrude M. 
Strauss. Mr. W. Shumway Lamb, Mrs. Mollie Alice Hay, 
Mrs. Robena Newcomb and Martha J. Crammond as 

II was decided that meetings would be held the first and 
third Tuesdays of the month and that a constitutional number 
of persons, consisting of 23 ladies and 2 master Masons had 
signed the petition for Dispensation for forming a new 
chapter. The petition was forwarded to the Grand Chapter of 
Illinois. On October 2. 1919. the dispensation from the Grand 
Chapter was received, authorizing that Drummer Chapter be 
instituted and become invested with full powers as a chapter. 
The Chapter was formally instituted October 22, 1919. The 
commission was read whereby the authority was shown that 
Brother A. G. Wascher, Worthy Patron of Prospect Chapter 
No. 367. Paxton. Illinois was duly appointed Deputy Worthy 
Grand Patron and officers were appointed by him to assist in 
the work of instituting the Chapter. 

First officers of Drummer Chapter were: Bryson Strauss, 
worthy patron; F«nnie Cooper, associate matron; Cora 
Barnhart secretary; Lena Denne, treasurer; Mollie Alice 
Hay conductress; Gertrude Strauss, assoc. conductress; 
Elizabeth Bartlett, Adah; Nettie Gill, Ruth; Margaret Main, 
Esther Margaret Wash, Martha; Maude Means, Electa; 
Martha Crammond, chaplain; Hester E. Wilson, organist; 
Mary D. Bartlett. warder; Lucile Denne. marshall and Pearl 
Eggleston, sentinel. 

The charter of Drummer Chapter was received from 
Grand Chapter October 5. 1920. 

In 1964 Ariel Chapter. Fisher. Illinois merged with 
Drummer Capter. 

Drummer Chapter has flourished spreading charity, truth 
and loving kindness and now has 253 members. 








Rev. C. J. Robertson of the Christian Church founded the 
Boy Scouts in 1915 in Gibson City. It was an independent troop 
chartered directly from New York City headquarters. The 
, first leader was O. C. Oakley ifamiharly known as "Oakie") 
Means. He was assisted at camp during the first years by 
Mer\in LeValley. "Oakie" ser\'ed in the capacity of leader 
for many faithful years. 


In 19:!9 ■ 40 Mr. Means re-chartered the Lone Troop into the 
Arrowhead Council of Boy Scouts of America with head office 
in Champaign. For the past thirty years the Boy Scouts have 
operated as part of Arrowhead Council. 

Meethig Place 

The American Legion Post had a cabin in the block south of 
the North Park, now the Chas. Grider's back yard. It was 
built of 2' X -I's and beaver board by Jack Nagle's father. It 
was moved to the South Park where it was bricked in early in 
the4U's. It was then donated to the Boy Scouts. 


In 1915 the boys camped south of Mahomet along the 
Sangamon River. They went by horse and buggy, which was 
a 1'l' day drive. In the 1920's the troop changed camp sites a 
number of times, ranging from very close to Gibson City to 
souiliwest of Mahomet. In the late 20's and early 30's they 
settled on a camp site about one - half mile east of the East 
Bend Mennonite Church north of Fisher. The Hermit's Cabin 
near Fisher was near an annual encampment. 

Many happy memories surround their camping ex- 
periences. The big cook tent was piled high with canned corn 
and beans from the Gibson Canning Factory. Water was 
brought every day by a Model - T Ford through the gully to 
the East Bend Church and back to camp. On visitors' night 
friends and families attended, and often an Indian Pow - wow 
was held. Every year the boys built a stone dam in the river 
and stairs in the clay bank to facilitiate getting down to the 
water to wash dishes. 

Since 1943 the boys have usually camped at Camp Drake, 
the Council camp in ihe Oakwood area. This two - week 
camping period became the high light of Ihe year with 
swimming, five - mile hikes, and the ceremony of the Order 
of the Arrow. In the 1950's a canoe trip to Region 7 Canoe 
Base was held. The Explorer Post spent five days in the 
wilderness of the Michigan Peninsula. This involved 
traveling by map and compass, getting lost, carrying 70 lb. 
packs, learning to paddle a canoe on a big lake against the 
wind, as well as learning to make a real camp site. 



In 1932 a group of about six girls were vs'anting to form a 
club. They had been reading Girl Scout magazines and were 
impressed with the Girl Scout activities in other towns and 
states. Mrs. L. A. Barrow organized and had chartered the 
first Girl Scout troop in Gibson City, in April 19.34. Mrs. Doris 
Johnson Suter was the first troop leader, and there were 56 
girls in Ihe troop. They were of Ihe 7th and 8lh grade age 

group. In 1940 the first Brownie troop was organized for 2nd 
and 3rd grade girls. By 1955 there were 9 troops of 130 girls 
active in the program, a senior troop of high school girls 
having been added. In 1970 there were 8 troops of 135 mem- 

Meeting Places 

The first 2 or 3 meetings were held in the Boy Scout Cabin. 
The early Girl Scouts met in rooms in the Grade School 
basement and in parents' homes for many years. On May 30. 
1959. the newly built Girl Scout cabin was dedicated. The 
m(xiern. brick, fireproof structure was built by dads and 
local volunteers under the direction of Harvey Rasmussen, 
who volunteered to be construction chairman The plans 
were drawn up by his son. Robert, an architecture student at 
University of Illinois. Practically everyone in the community 
donated time and money to Ihe project. Local organizations. 
Ihe Community Chest, and individuals donated money, in 
addition to that raised by the troops. At the dedicatory ser- 
vice. Ihe V.F.W. dedicated a flag pole at the site and also 
presented the girls with a flag which had flown over Ihe 
While House The cabin is located on land that Mr. L. A. 
Barrow had purchased and donated to Ihe city to be used for 
recreation and or a park. The baseball park is located on 
this same land. 

In 1955 the Girl Scouts were changed from a Lone Troop 
status lo affiliation with the Green Prairie Council, Cham- 
paign area, later named Green Meadows Girl Scout Council 
of Illinois, Inc. 


The Girl Scouts enjoyed camping from Ihe very beginning. 
At first camping was done in tents - and still is. Outdoor 
cooking was a big thing, and bean - hole cooking was very 
popular. This is where a large hole is dug in the ground, a 
good bed of hot coals is laid, and an entire meal can be cooked 
underground. In 1970 Ihe Girl Scouts are still using this 
method of outdoor cooking. 

Camping was done at Foster's Grove, at the Hermit's 
Cabin near Fisher, and also at Camp Drake near Danville. 

Day Camp was held in the very beginning and has con- 
tinued through the years. In the present day. Day Camp is 
held for one whole week. 

Camping for one week or two still continues since 1934. The 
Girl Scouts used to camp at Lake Bloominglon with Ihe entire 
camp staff being volunteer mothers and older girls. About 
1944 Ihe girls began using Camp Kiwanis near Mahomet. This 
camp is still being used by Ihe Gibson City Girl Scouts and 
had been enlarged considerably Another camp site is Wa-ha- 
na-ha near Gilman. Singing around the campfire at night has 
long been a tradition of the Girl Scouts. 

War Projects 

The Girl Scouts collected grease in a "Fats Drive", and in 
one paper drive alone they collected 15.189 pounds of old 

Troop Projects 

The Girl Scouts have sold cookies since 1938 - 39. The first 
couple of years the cookies were baked by the Harder's 
Bakery. In 1940. the first factory made cookies were sold. 
There was only one kind and they sold for 25 cents per box. 
Each cookie was stamped with the Girl Scout emblem. Today 
Ihe Girls are sbll selling cookies. There are 5 kinds to select 
from, they cost 50 cents a box. are still stamped with the Girl 
Scout emblem, and the money is still being used to pay for 


troop camping. 

Girl Scout calendars were sold as far back as 1945 for 25 
cents. They are still being sold with the price being only 35 

The girls used to work for the community in the areas of the 
elderly and the needy. Today the Girl Scouts are doing the 
same. They seriously carry out their pledge to do a good 
deed. This has been proved in 1969-70 when one troop 
volunteered three afternoons a week to be with the elderly at 
the Gibson Manor and were highly commended for their 
volunteer work. 


The first 4-H club in the Gibson City area was a boys club 
started apparently in 1928 with John Haypenny as the first 
leader. George Swaim was the farm advisor at that time. The 
club was composed of about 12 boys and projects carried 
were beef, swine and a hybrid corn project. Hybrid corn was 
just becoming available and the boys planted an acre of a 
particular variety as their 4-H project. 

The girl's club was probably started about 1928 or 29. 
Among the first leaders were Mrs. Eleanor Onken, Mrs. 
Deana Warfield, Mrs. Raymond Green. Mrs. P. M. Ker- 
chenfaut. Mrs Merritt Kerchenfaut, and Mrs. Carl Beecher. 
The first projects were clothing construction projects. 
Cooking as a 4-H project did not start until about 1936. 

Alice Green Siegfried, now of Scottsdale. Arizona, was the 
first Ford County delegate to 4-H Club Congress in Chicago in 
1936 She earned the trip through her work in sewing con- 
struction and modeling. 

4-H, in both agriculture and homemaking areas, has been 
more or less continuous since its start. The name of the first 
girls club was Blue Ribbon which the club today still uses. 


The Ford County Extension Service first was organized in 
1919 to provide farmers with production management in- 
formation. At that time the farm bureau was organized to 
give local support to extension programs. 

In 1922 the first 4-H «lub "Burr Oak", was organized at 
Sibley under the leadership of Louis Rust. The standard 
project was swine. 

In 1935 Home Economics Extension was organized and 
supported by the home bureau. The name was changed to the 
Home Economics Extension Association in 1967 and today 
about 280 women members participate and support the ex- 
tension program. 

The 4-H program is an integral part of Cooperative Ex- 
tension. In 1971 nearly 450 boys and girls are enrolled in 22 4- 
H clubs in Ford County. Their projects range from livestock, 
foods and clothing to photography, arts and crafts, con- 
servation and model rocketry. Activities include camping, 
leadership experience, health, and recreation. 

In addition to Home Economics Association support, the 
Ford County Cooperative Extension Service is provided local 
financial support by the Ford County Board of Supervisors. 


The Gibson Community Hospital Auxiliary was organized 
in November, 1952, with 238 members and Mrs. R. A. Stroh as 
the first president. The Auxiliary was organized for the 
purpose of promoting and advancing the welfare of the 
Gibson Community Hospital Association. This Auxiliary has 
grown to 262 members, including 35 life memberships and 37 
associate memberships in 1971. 

Since its organization, the Auxiliary has provided 
numerous volunteer services to the Gibson Community 
Hospital. Some of these services have included patient mail 
service, a library cart, sewing and mending, beauty shop, 
tray favors, bandage rolling, sponsoring the Red Cross Blood 
Mobile, refreshment stand and a candy stripers program. 

In the past 19 years the Auxiliary's annua! fund raising 
projects have raised over $20,000. These funds have been 
instrumental in purchasing laboratory equipment, hospital 
beds and furniture, an incubator, air conditioners, oxygen 
equipment, a heart monitoring machine, and sponsoring an 
annual health careers scholarship. 

One of the ser\ ices provided to hospital patients by members of 
the Hospital .Auxiliary is serving juice and cookies each af- 
ternoon. Faithful members for many years were Mrs. Marie 
Whallon <left> and .Mrs. Emma Jensen. 



(iibson City has been fortunate to have a swimming pool since the middle 192ll's. In l!)r>7 the 
original pool's deep end was filled to a shallower depth when a new diving pool was added. At the 
same time a wading pool for small children was built. Above Donna \>rkler instructs a group of 
potential swimmers during Red Cross lessons. The diving pool is at top right and the wading pool 
is to the left. 






Gibson City Athletic Club in 1S92. Bottom row. from left. Art (irant. Sum Ward. Percy Morris, 
l.indsey. Second row - Will Wilson. Ed Shaffer. Harry Spaulding. Frank Haiipt. Dr. Chapman. B 
Strauss. Top row - Will Slater, Rolla McClure. S. Palmer, Loyal Wright, Harry Worrell, Jas. 
pent, Lon McClure. 



Athletics have always been very important to Gibson City. 
One of the first was the Athletic Club which was located in 
what is now the Masonic Lodge. They had about twenty 
members Their main event was boxing. They had several 
good boxers and brought in men from other towns and held 
boxing meets about twice a month. This was around the year 

In the early days Gibson had a very good football team 
which played all of the larger towns in Central Illinois. They 
built up a very good reputation as one of the best teams. 

Gibson has always been a great baseball center. They have 
had many great teams''through the years. At one time the 
baseball games were played at the Fairgrounds which was 
west of the Canning Company. Then after Drummer High 
School was built baseball was played on the high school 
diamond. The last independent baseball team was around 
\9\5. After baseball there was the Softball league which 
played on a diamond south of the Nickle Plate depot. For 
several years there was a lot of interest in the league. They 
played two games a night, five nights a weelc during the 
summer time. Then after that they had a league for the 
different towns. Central Soya represented Gibson City and 
they had a great team. Now we have a new diamond east of 
the North Park with bleachers and a refreshment stand 
where small leaguers and the commercial leagues play 
nearly every night of the week under lights with very good 

Then Gibson became basketball conscious and we had one 
of the best basketball courts in Central Illinois, the Hunt 
Coliseum It was built for a roller skating rink and they really 
had several years of fine skating. People came from all over 
Central Illinois to skate here Then tine Yours Truly Basket 
Ball Club was formed named after the brand of pork and 
beans canned at the canning company. It was made up of 
home town boys. They played all the best teams in Illinois 

and one year the Independent Basketball Tournament for the 
state championship was held here which the Yours Truly 
won and was state champion. There were teams from 
Chicago and all the states here. The Yours Truly played for a 
number of years until the new high school gymnasium was 
build and Hunts Coliseum was moved to south Sangamon 
Avenue and became a cheese factory. 

Another thmg Gibson had one wmter m the Hunts Coliseum 
was wrestling matches. There was a man who moved to 
Gibson City and he was a big man in wrestling. We had 
several matches between him and some of the best wrestlers 
in the United States until we had the world championship 
middle weight wrestling match in Gibson City in which our 
man lost by one fall. 

Then in the space of one year our swimming habits were 
changed from the old swimming hole in the Cordie Ogg's 
farm to the new swimming pool built across from the North 
Park. We thought it was certainly wonderful, a wading pool, 
swimmmg pool and a diving pool. At that time we thought it 
was the finest in the state but it has been brought up to date 
and you wouldn't know the old pool after seeing the new pool. 

Back in the 1930's Gibson had a very good nine hole Golf 
Course on the McKeever farm west of Gibson City which 
brought several teams from other towns for meets. Gibson 
won their share of meets and a lot of persons spent several 
summers enjoying the golf course. 

Gibson has always had a gun club through the years 
located in different places. Always before the holidays they 
had meets for game such as turkeys, geese, ducks and 
chickens. They had very good crowds. The meets would 
usually start about 10 in the morning and last nearly all day. 

Gibson got its first bowling alley in the 1930's and there has 
been a bowling alley in some location every since - uptown at 
first. Now we havi two real good bowling alleys. Both have 
league games every night during the week which (?ives a lot 
of people entertainment. 


Champion Basketball Team of 1911 - 
1!M2 of Drummer Township High 
School. Left to right - F'ranklin 
Barber. Owen Harry. Prof. B. L. 
Pilcher. Russell Richards. Herbert 
Bloom. Front - Herman Krudup. 

Football Captain - Loyal Wright 

YOURS TRl'LY BASKKTBAI.L TFAM of I!M;! ■ 1 1 thrilled audiences at the old Coliseum with their 
skill and fancy ball handling. The (libson City Canning Company furnished the suits ; se\ en all - wool 
ones cost $10(1. and the second year each player received a matching sweater. Players pictured at top 
left to right ■ Haltie .Vshby. "Doc" Shawl. Dr. Frank Hunt (coach i. Franklin "Daddy" Barber. Dane 
Andersen; Second row • Kd "Bosco" Bonnen. Herbert "Kat" Bloom. Herman "Dutch" Krudup. 
Sitting in front - Wiley "Bud" Hunt. 


The Modern Woodmen Drill Team, (amp No. 2:15, had a very active group that traveled around 
Central Illinois performing in parades and for recreation. The commands of their drill master. Tim 
Bigger, could he heard for quite some distance, as he was a seasoned veteran of the Spanish 
American War and World War I. Pictured in March l!)lfi are (top row from lefti Tim Bigger. Drill 
Master; Lawrence Swanson. Simon Salmonson. Charles Hays, Harper Glenn, Harper Vernon. John 
S. Stevens. (Middle row) Hampton Bergstrom, Charles Chambers, Wa>ne Sawyer, (unidentified 
man). (Bottom row) William Brading. Roy Keitlinger, Walter Piatt, Raymond (Teter) Phillips. 

The Republican Glee Club of ISSS furnished beautiful music for many political and other events. 
Those identifiable are from left - Sam Preston, John Pierpont, and extreme right James Pierpont 
(twin brother of John.) Other members pictured are John Ewing. R. R. Baily (auctioneer), and 
Henry Preston. 


(;ibson Citys Hook and Ladder Team were State Champions in 1900. From left top row - 
Ed Croddv. J. H. C.regory. VV. Thomas, Kirk Gregory. Loyal Wright. Albert Cilchrisl. 
Frank Patton. Second row - Forest Eggleston. Wm. ONeal. Hark Harry. Forrest Nagle, 
Ira Oilmore. Front row - Fred Jones, Chas. Kelso, Guy Haupt, Bert Ball. 

^%Joaife^ J 

fi- -k^% K^% 



The (iibson City Hose Team, composed of volunteer firemen, each summer engaged in 
competiti\e sport with other city teams, to learn which team could throw Ihe fartherest 
stream of water in the least niimher of seconds Members in IS!IS were Hop row. from 
left! Forrest Kg^ileston. I'reslon Wright. Wm .S I)u\ . (»tt I'off; middle row. .lack 
Mctiarry. Wm I* Thomas, .lack .•^Icphcns. \lt>crl (iilchrist. and Ira (lilmore; bottom 
row. Oscar Keadels. (has. Kelso. Wm. ONeil and (iuy Haupt. 











Feeling the need of a Full CJospel Church in ihis city, a 
group of twelve persons met al the home of Willard 
Thomason in August. 1960. and held Sunday School classes 
and prayer meetings 

A few months later the group rented the former Pilgrim 
Holiness church building on West 9th St. where the Rev. J. C. 
Lewis was the first pastor. 

In the year 1%2 the Rev. Roger Boyd became the pastor, 
and the longregation purchased the Lutheran Church 
building and parsonage on thecorner of 8thand Melvin Sts. in 
March 1964 

The Rev Ciary Royer came as minister of the church in 
1968 He was followed by his father, the Rev Elmer L. Royer 
in January. 1971. who is the present pastor. 

The congregation is enjoying the many blessings of the 
Lord, and is averaging 43 in attendance. 



The First Church of the Nazarene in Gibson City was 
organized March 17, 1963, by the Chicago Central District of 
the Church of the Nazarene It was started as a home mission 
project under the direction of Rev Marvin Cockman. A 
chapel-parsonage was constructed at the corner of Fourth 
and Guthrie where it is still located. 

The pastors of the church have been: the Rev. Raymond 
Stockman (1963-66); the Rev. Harold Frye (1966-67); the 
Rev. Claude Diehl (1967-68); and the Rev. Kenneth Floyd 
(1968-69) The Rev. John Bouldrey, present pastor, is in his 
second year of the pastorate. 

The church and its people extend a warm hand of Christian 
friendship to the community, welcoming anyone who visits 
the church 

.^^tg ^ 


The First Baptist Church, 628 South Church St.. Gibson 
City, has not always had the name of First Baptist. The 
church was organized in 1950 as The Conservative Baptist 
Church, with Rev Robert D. Oman of Chicago, III. as the first 
pastor. The first worship services were conducted in the 
home of Mr. and Mrs. Kermit Gosser. who are still members. 

As the Conservative Baptist Group, the Wantwood School 
building was rented for worship services. Later in 1952 they 
purchased another school building for their worship services. 
After the purchase of this property in 1953, the church voted 
to petition the Southern Baptist Convention for affiliation. At 
this time they voted to change the name from the Con- 
•servated Baptist Church to the First Baptist Church. 

In 1956 the lot at 628 S. Church St., upon which the church 
plant is now located, was purchased. The ground-breaking 
ceremony was conducted with the members present, and the 
first spade of earth turned over by Henry Forhn. This was the 
beginning of the building of the church which is presently The 
First Baptist Church, (affilicated with the Southern Baptist 
Convention) of Gibson City. 

The present pastor is Everett S. George. 



The first meeting place of this group was in the Canterbury 
School northeast of Gibson in 1869. From there they went to 
the loft of a building where John Moore had his wagon shop 

The congregation was formally organized on Feb. 15, 1872, 
with 19 members, under the leadership of the Rev. G. W. 
Campbell. At that time it was called the Church of Christ. 

The most prominent member in that early day was J. B. 
Lott, the founder of Gibson City. His wife, known as "aunt 
Maggie", was a faithful helper and donated the building site. 
The bricks for that building were donated by Andrew Jordan 
who made them in his brick yard. The church was erected at 
the southeast cornerof Sangamon Ave. and 11th St. 

To raise money to meet back obligations a poll tax of 75 
cents per male member per month was levied in 1874. Also, a 
resolution was passed that a tax of one per cent of the actual 
value of the property of each and every member of the 
congregation be levied, sufficient to raise the balance of the 
money necessary to meet expenses. There is no record of how 
successful the venture was. 

One of the church's prominent ministers was Rev. Steven 
Fisher, who resigned here to become pastor of University 
Place Church in Urbana, where he was very instrumental in 
establishing Illinois Disciples Foundation on campus in 

Another of their ministers went on to become the president 
of Eureka College. He was the Rev. Louis Lehman 

The Rev. R. M. Luedde was pastor for 27 years during 
which lime, he taught in the public schools, became Vice 
President of Illinois State School Board Association, served 
as president of Ford Co. Sunday School Association, and for 
five years was president of the Illinois Christian Education 
Commission. He was well known throughout this area. 

The old church building at Sangamon Ave. and nth St was 
lorn down in March, 1971. shortly after the congregation 
moved to its beautiful, modern structure located on the 
northwest corner of Sangamon Avenue and 12th Street. Cost 
of the new edifice was $225,000. The site of the church was 
given by Mr. and Mrs. Lawson Tjardes. 

The first worship ser\'ice was held in the new building Feb. 

28, 1971, and was formally dedicated June 6, 1971. At the 
present time the minister is the Rev. Hugh A. Reynolds Jr. 

The sanctuary seats 212 and the choir loft at the rear of the 
sanctuary seats 35. The fellowship hall can seat 125 at tables. 
The gaily-type kitchen can be used for serving receptions, 
dinners and other occasions. Landscaping is to be completed 
in the near future. 

Coder-Taylor Associates of Kenilworth were the ar- 
chitects. Robert Rasmussen, son of Mrs. Rose Ramussen and 
the late Harvey Rasmussen, was the project architect. 
StoUer & Maurer of Fairbury were general contractors. 

The former church site was sold and Champaign 
Production Credit Association will build a new office at that 


On June 30, 1953, a group of 41 people met at the home of 
Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Ropp and voted to organize a new 
church, which was named Community Christian Church. The 
articles set forth in the very beginning were in keeping with 
the Disciples of Christ; to foster Christian love and 
Brotherhood, and to cooperate in all the Brotherhood 
Programs of the Disciples of Christ Church. There were 80 
charter members. 

On July 5th, 1953, the first Sunday School and worship 
services were held in the Edna Theatre. In December, 1953, 
the congregation met in the Legion Hall, until a suitable site 
could be obtained for a structure. 

Lots were purchased for the present church on Route 54, at 
12th. and Lawrence Streets for $3000 from Ruth Ringland 
Rains. Estimated cost of the education department of the 
building was $20,000 to $25,000, with the members doing a 
great share of the work. The main sanctuary was to be 
constructed in future years. 

Ground breaking ceremonies were held Sunday, May 16. 
1954. On June 23, 1954, the corner-stone was laid. The first 
services were held in the new church on March 6th, 1955. The 
new building was dedicated Sunday, November 20, 1955. 

The Rev. Dean McGrew has been the pastor since March 
26, 1961. 




United Brethren Church and Parsonage, Gibson Cfty, III, 

L ■LOOHIIiaTeH. ' 

^^^LLI '^1 il 

< -AUil 




In the year 1875, the quarterly conference of the Elliott 
charge appointed a Board of Trustees, consisting of C J 
Buchner, J C Thornton. Peter Main. Sr.. Rev. L. L Rincharl 
and John Wagner. Esq.. to lake under advisement the 
feasibility of building a church house for the L'nited Brethren 
in Christ in Gibson In the following August began the 
erection of what was known as the Brethren Church in 
(libson. and on the 8th day of January. 187H. it was finished 
and dedicated to the ser\ice of G<xd. The building was 4.S feel 
long. :?() leet wide and 18 feet ceiling. II had a belfry and a 
vestibule and cost $1850. 

During the year 1876 Rev. F. R. Milchel was the pastor. 

.serving his second year on the charge He organized a l'nited 
Brethren society in (iibson City. 

The l'nited Brethren denomination and the Evangelical 
denomination united in 1946. hence the name was changed to 
The Evangelical l'nited Brethren Church. 

In July 1968. the United Brethren congregation merged 
with the First Methodist congregation, using the church 
facilities of the First Meth(xlists. 

The KVB church, which was demolished early in 1971. was 
dedicated in 1917 The Rev. George McClanathan was the 
pitslor at the lime of the dedication. 



The Gibson City Bible Church began as a result of 
evangelistic services conducted in a tent on the present site 
of the church in August of 1950. The tent services were 
spf)nsored by a ten member Inter-Community Laymen's 

This layman's group established a Sunday School which 
first me! in the AME church on Eighth Street, under the 
direction of a ten member council. 

Later in 1951 the first stages of the present building were 
completed at its present location on the southwest corner of 
Sixth and Melvin Streets. Reverend J. A. Heiser of Fisher 
was the first pastor. Members of the original church council 
were John Bruehl, Lewis Birky, Justus Detwiler, Earl 
Birkey, Carl Young, Lloyd Heiser, Orval Schrock, Dave 
Schiavo, Willard Heiser and Sam Zehr. A second work was 
established on the west side of Gibson City called the West 
Side Chapel, which has since been discontinued. 

The church is currently under the direction of its third 
pastor, Rev. James Walsh. The church employs a youth 
director, Clyde Ingold, who is a lifetime resident of Fisher. 

Presently 22 of the church's membership are serving in 
Christian Service. Of these, nine are serving as foreign 
missionaries, and six are either ministers or minister's 
wives, in the United States. Of the church's $.31,620 annual 
budget, more than half is designated for foreign missions. 

Having a present membership of 239 members, the Bible 
Church is one of Gibson City's fastest growing churches. 

.M:il(t\ \ll sui I \| SSI s 

.Ichii\uhs Witnesses established a cuimrt'galion in Gibson 
City m June. 19fi7, 

The local congregation is one of some 26.60(1 congregations 
in 206 countries world-wide 

Present attendance at the Gibson City Kingdom Hall of 
.Jehovah's Witnesses is 60-65 persons They obtained their 
present building in 1967. 

Jehovah's Witnesses, a Christian group of Bible students, 
base their beliefs and conduct on early Christianity as set 
forth in the Bible and in historical records from the early 
Chnstian era. 

They have become well-known for the past 100 years the 
world over for their house-to-house preaching. In 1970, their 
combined efforts around the globe resulted in 267,581,120 
hours .spent sharing Bible truths at the homes of the public 
They took time to conduct free weekly Bible studies in 
1,146, 378 homes of interested persons of the public around the 
world. There were 164,193 persons from all nations baptized 
as Jehovah's Witnesses last year. 

Jehovah's Witnesses invite the public to attend their Bible 
study meetings at the local Kingdom Hall, 323 N. Lawrence. 

Since the local congregation was formed David W. Ellison 
has served as presiding minister. 



In the year 1874 the Swedish population of Gibson City 
began to grow. As the population grew, the need for a 
Lutheran Church was seen. One was built at Eighth and 
Melvin Streets and was known as Salem Lutheran Church. 

Salem Lutheran Church flourished for some time. The 
congregation was slow in shifting from the Swedish language 
to English and the membership began to swindle. In 1934 the 
church was closed and the congregation dissolved. The 
building stood vacant for almost ten years. 

In 1942 a considerable number of Lutherans had moved to 
Gibson City. An appeal was made to the American Lutheran 

Church to investigate the possibility of establishing a 
congregation here. The Mission Board made a survey and 
found the field to be promising. A call was extended to the 
Reverend Werner Fritschel of Hebron, Nebraska where he 
had been teaching in the Hebron Junior College. He accepted 
the Call and arrived in mid-summer 1942. The initial service 
was held July 26 in the old Salem Lutheran Church at 10:30 

By April, 1943, the congregation had grown to the size that 
it could be organized and on April 15, at 7:30 p.m. a meeting 
was held in the old Salem Lutheran Church for this purpose. 
The name American Evangelical Lutheran Church of Gibson 
City, Illinois was adopted and the congregation was duly 


incorporated. The first officers were: Trustees: August 
Borchers, Bernard Scheiman and Aivin Timke; Deacons: 
Charles Riblet and Milton Fryitman. 

An attempt was made to acquire the properties of the old 
Salem Church. The Augustana Synod was very generous to 
us in that they offered us the church building and the lot it 
stood on for only $1000.00. Later, when they learned that we 
would like to have the parsonage for the pastor's residence 
they gave it to us as an outright gift. We are deeply indebted 
to the Augustana Synod and thank them for their very real 
part in the growth of this congregation. 

After being vacant for ten years both the church and house 
needed repair and improvement. One of the main im- 
provements, dedicated January 16, 1944, was a new set of 
church windows. In 1949 the congregation became self 

In 1%4 during the pastorate of Rev. Carl Grabemann a 
new church was built east of town on Route No. 9. The 
dedication service was held Sunday, March 8. 1%4. After 
Rev. Grabemann's death in 1966, Rev. O. H. Kreiter was 
called and is currently serving as pastor. A new parsonage 
was also built. The old church and parsonage were sold to the 
First Assembly of God. 


The first date in connection with Catholicism in Gibson City 
is 1875. At this time Rev. John Fannin came from Fairbury, 
111., occasionally and said masses in the homes for the 12 
members. These masses were said probably not oftener than 

In 1884 Rev. John Kelly built the first Catholic Church in 
the south part of Gibson City, on lot 7 of Block 18, on the 
corner of Third (now Fifth) street and Church in Guthrie's 
Addition to Gibson City. 

Records show that between 1882 and 1891 Franciscan 
Priests from Bloomington, 111., served this parish-probably 
using the Lake Erie and Western Railroad as their mode of 

On March 25, 1892, Thomas R. Wiley and wife Mae, sold to 

RT. Rev. Jos. S. Spaulding, Bishop of Peoria Diocese, Lots 1 
and 2 in Block 39, First Addition to Gibson City, 111. 

In December of 1891, Rev. Joseph P. Barry became the 
pastor and in the spring, following the purchase of the lots on 
N. Wood St., supervised the building of the first Rectory. 
(This building was recently replaced by the present Rec- 
tory. ) Father Parry was in poor health, and because of this, 
his family paid to have the church moved from the Church 
Street location to Lot 2 of Block 39 North Wood St. At this 
time, Roberts, Melvin, and Farmer City were out-missions of 
Gibson City. 

In 1910 Rev. J. T. FitzGerald became the pastor. He 
supervised the planning and the erection of the present 
Church. The comer stone of the new church was laid by 
Bishop Edmund Dunne of Peoria and the Sacrament of 
Confirmation was administered in 1913. The new church was 
opened to the public, for the first time on Sunday, February 
22, 1914. It was not formally dedicated at that time as Bishop 
Dunne was in Europe. It was solemnly blessed by Very Rev. 
J. J. Shannon, Vicar General of the Peoria Diocese. 

In May of 1917 Rev. John L. McMullen was appointed to the 
Gibson City and outmissions. In 1922 St. Rose Church, 
Strawn, was made an out-mission of Our Lady of Lourdes in 
addition to St. George, Melvin and Immaculate Conception, 

Some time between 1930 and December 1934 Roberts was 
transferred as a mission to Piper City and St. Joseph Church 
of Colfax was added to Our a Lady of Lourdes. 

In 1959 Rev. William Kirk was appointed pastor of Gibson 
City and directed the building of the Religious Center in 
Gibson City. In 1963 he was transferred to Wheaton. While in 
Wheaton he was severly burned in a fire in his rectory and 
died. The Religious Center here then was named in his honor 
"The Father Kirk Memorial Center". 

Rev. James Duffy came to Gibson City after Father Kirk's 
transfer to Wheaton. 

Rev. Vytas Mememas replaced Rev. James Duffy in 1%7 
Under his direction the new rectory was built and the church 



In January, 1939 four families began meeting for worship 
at Guthrie Community Hall. This was the beginning of what 
was later to become the Gibson City Church. 

A lot was purchased in Guthrie in June, 1949, and a building 
was moved onto this lot for a meeting house. The Brethern 
began to meet in this building for the first time in January, 

In May, 1965, a new church building was constructed in 
Gibson City and in August, 1965, the congregation was moved 
from Guthrie and began meeting in the new meeting house. 

The one acre of land on which the new church was erected 
was donated by Elmo Meiners of M & W Gear Co. The cost of 
the building was approximately $45,000 and is located just 
south of town on Rt. 47. The sanctuary will seat 275. Ad- 
ditional seating for 75 is available in a balcony at the rear of 
the auditorium. There are 10 classrooms. 

The present minister is Larry Darnall. 

From the original four families which began meeting in 
Guthrie in January, 1939, our membership has grown to over 


The African Methodist Church was organized in Gibson 
City in 1877 by the Rev. Aaron Ward Charter members were 
Mark and Melissa Anthony, Betty Manson, Ellen Smith and 
Mr and Mrs. Allen Sjpeckard. 

Their first building was erected at a cost of $600 and since 
that time there has been a congregation in town to ac- 
commodate those who wished to attend 

Negro citizens started the church when they came here 
from Burr Oaks where they worked for Michael Sullivant on 
■his extensive farm holdings. Some chose to remain in this 
area after Sullivant lost much of his property and they came 
to Gibson City. 

The church is now known as Alexander Chapel. 

This page sponsored by 
Peter Eckrich & Sons, Inc., First National Bank 
and Trust Company in Gibson City, The Fashion 
Shop and Ford Iroquois FS, Inc. 


IV«i»byitf(»;» Cho.-^h, Ofttan Cdy, 111. 





A petition signed by 18 persons was presented to 
Bloomington Presbytery on Sept. 26th, asking for the 
organization of a Presbyterian Church at Gibson City. The 
petition was granted and on Oct. 28th, 1871, the same year in 
which the town was founded, the First Presbyterian Church 
of Gibson City was organized. 

The first meeting place was the North Union School house 
four miles northwest of Gibson City, the organizing minister 
was the Rev. R. A. Criswell who was also the shepherd of the 
flock for the ensuing four years. 

Among the 21 charter members were Mrs. Ruth E. 
Gilmore and Mrs. Sarah McKeever. These two names are 
still represented on the present membership list, there being 
several Gilmores and McKeevers with other of their 
relatives now in the church in 1971. 

As soon as Gibson took on the semblance of a town, the 
congregation came to where the people were, and held their 
services in Gilmore hall or in Guthrie Hall and on some oc- 
casions in the Illinois Central Depot, where the pews were 
planks and where the pulpit was a barrell. This latter place 
was often used by other denominational groups for their 
place of worship. 

The first building was planned in 1874, but due to the 
hardships of the season it was not completed until 1875. The 
church cost $3500. Money was tight and 18 percent interest 
had to be paid at the bank on that which was borrowed. 

By the turn of the century the little Gothic style church was 
outgrown and in 1902 a new building, the present one, was 
erected on the sight of the old at Church and Eleventh 

An organization within the Church that has lasted over 60 
years is the Sunshine Class which has contributed to the 
finances, to the kitchen equipment, to the roll of teachers, 
and to the lasting memory of faithful participants. 

In 1906 the Cumberland Presbbyterian Church-l- merged 
with this First Presbyterian and brought a sizeable influx of 
new members. 

In 1950 a new kitchen was added (o the big brick structure 
In this centennial year a new Christian Education addition 
costing $115,000 has been completed. The new addition was 
dedicated Sunday, April 25, 1971. The church will officially 
obser\e its Centennial year on Sunday, October 24, 1971. The 
present minister is Dr. Chester E. Chandler. 

+The Cumberland Presbyterian Church, originally called 
the Hopewell Congregation was organized at Drummer 
Grove School one mile Northwest of Gibson City on Dec 19, 
1868 by the Rev. J. R. Lawrence. 

Their building, completed in the fall of 1873, was one of the 
first churches in town. Their congregation was noted for 
being a dressy group, and their main leader was Ben Mc- 
Clure who was known to all the school children as Uncle Ben. 
Some of his descendants, along with the Knapps, the Hustons 
and the Jardines - (all related to charter members) are still 
members of this merged church today. 


The first meetings of the Methodist Episcopal Society were 
held in 1872 in the old Gault House, located where the Legion 
Hall now stands. Under the leadership of Rev Job Ingram. 
arrangements were made to hold regular services in what 
was known as Gilmore Hall on Sangamon Avenue, and 

meetings were held here until the church was built the 
following year, 1873. on the corner of Church and Tenth 
streets across the street south of where the present church 
stands. This church, facing north, was a frame building with 
two small rooms to the west, one for a vestibule and the other 
for Sunday School classes. The building had a belfry and was 
heated by two soft coal stoves. The total cost was $2000. 

Times were hard, money was scarce, and crops poor. 
During the building of the church, a group of women met in 
the belfry and organized a Mite Society, their object being to 
help raise money for the building of the church. The society 
afterwards became known as the Ladies Aid. 

Rev. A. C. Byerly had succeeded Rev. Ingram in 1873 and 
was pastor in charge when the church was finished, serving 
for two years. During his first year pastorate, Mrs. Byerly 
organized the Women's Foreign Missionary Society. 

In this early church there was a class meeting held at 10:30 
a.m. followed by the worship service at 11 o'clock. The 
Sunday School was held at 3 p.m. The first Sunday School 
superintendent was Charles Wilson, and the first class leader 
was N. S. Garrell. 

In 1882 the three lots where the present church and par- 
sonage stand were purchased for $900. The next year a 
parsonage was built at the site of the present one. 

In 1888 the church building burned to the ground. Plans 
were immediately made for rebuilding. A frame structure 
was erected on the site of the present church. During this 
time, the Ladies Aid was actively engaged in raising funds to 
help defray expenses of the building. This second building 
was dedicated on October 28, 1888. Rev. Robert Stevens was 
pastor at the time. Th cost of the building was $4000. 

In 1892, when Rev. W. T. Beadles was pastor, the old 
parsonage was sold for $200 and a new one was built and 
dedicated on December 31, 1892, at a cost of $2,195. On March 
7, 1897, the church again caught fire and was badly damaged. 
It was remodeled with a basement and kitchen added. The 
Ladies Aid, Epworth League, and Junior League furnished it. 

During these first 25 years, several revival meetings were 
held, increasing the membership on each occasion, 
culminating in the Great Union Revival in 1906 under the 
leadership of Billy Sunday, which resulted in more than 100 
uniting with the Methodist Church. 

In 1913, when it became necessary to make extensive 
repairs upon the church, it was decided that a new church 
should be built to replace the 1888 building. The cornerstone 
was laid in the late summer of 1913, and the present church 
was completed and dedicated on August 30, 1914, at a total 
cost of $34,070. A brick parsonage was built in 1951. 

In 1939, the Methodist Church, South, and the Methodist 
Protestant Church united with the M.E., the new 
organization assuming the name of simply the Methodist 
Church. The Ladies Aid and Women's Missionary Society 
became the Women's Society of Christian Service. 

In 1966 extensive remodeling was undertaken in the 
present building at a cost of $116,000. 

In 1968 the Evangelical United Brethren and Methodist 
Churches merged, becoming known as the United Methodist 
Church. The Elliott U.M. Church became a yoked parish with 
the Gibson Church when the former EUB and Lutheran 
churches of Elliott merged. The total membership of the 
yoked parish is 990. 

The church is presently served by Rev. John R. Curtis. Jr. . 
senior pastor, and Rev. David A. Eadie, associate, who also 
serves the Elliott church. 



Methodist Episcopal Church and Parsonage, Olbsop City, III. ^ 




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(Editor's Note: The following article was prepared by Miss 
Evelyn Dueringer, a teacher and librarian in the high school 
lor many years and now retired.) 

The first school was established in the prairie days when 
the first settlers arrived between 1852 and 1860. Dr. J. E. 
Davis, who had settled on the prairie on what is now the John 
Foster farm, hired a private teacher in the fall of 1863 by the 
name of Miranda HoUoway and invited his neighbor's 
children to his home for education with his own children in 
his home. 

In 1865 in the northwest part of Drummer Township, Mr. 
Asa Centebury followed the same procedure as Dr. J. E. 
Davis and hired a teacher by the name of Miss Jennie Frew 
of Paxton to teach in his home, also inviting the neighbors' 
children to be taught there. 

In 1866 the Drummer Grove district was organized, and a 
school house was built near Drummer Grove. It was on the 
south side of the road and on the west side of Drummer Creek 
northwest of the village of Gibson on the Dr. J.E. Davis farm. 
The first teacher was Mary Ann George. The children of the 
new village of Gibson had to go to this school. Some of those 
who walked from the village to the Drummer Grove School 
before there was a s school in the village were Emma Gentle, 
Sara Gilmore, and Emma Houdyshell. Of these, the known 
descendants of Emma Gentle are the Mottier family, who 
resided northeast of Gibson City during the first half of the 
20th century. Also, relatives of Sara Gilmore living in the 
Gibson City area are descendants of her uncle, Albert and 

Craig Gilmore, 

In 1872 this school was disbanded due to overcrowding from 
the increasing number of pupils from the growing village. 
The building was purchased by George Johnson, house 
mover. He moved it to Lot 9 on the west side of State Street 
and converted it into a residence for his family. It stood just 
opposite the west of the Jonathan B. Lott home. The old 
historic Drummer Grove schoolhouse still stands at 527 
North State Street, occupied in the early half of this century 
by the David Craddick family, and presently occupied by 
Kenneth Eck and family. 

In the fall of 1872 a new school district was organized, 
known as District No. 3, and school was taught in Union Hall, 
erected on the west side of Sangamon Avenue, north of the 
present Moyer Library, where the home of Mrs. Wm. M. Loy 
now stands. This was the first school in the village and was 
taught by Miss Caroline Williams, thus giving her credit for 
being the first teacher in the village of Gibson. The spring 
term of 1873 was taught by Mr, D. E. Stover, and the fall 
term of 1873 Mr. Jesse Hubbard was secured as the first 
superintendent of the school, as there were too many children 
for one teacher. Miss Ruby Sears was engaged as assistant. 

In the summer of 1874 it was decided to build a new school 
building, as by this time the village of Gibson had become a 
boom town and Union Hall was not large enough to ac- 
commodate the numerous pupils. The directors were Charles 
Wilson, T. D. Spaulding, and F. S. Church. The contract was 
let to the lowest bidder, who was J. C. Mather of Kankakee, 
and work was started in July and finished in December at a 

School children were housed in the building at the left and 
opened Friday. Dec, 4, 1S74. The belfry was built on 
Christmas day by Fred Potts and George Wood, pioneers 
carpenters for $15. 

The bell is now in a place of honor at the entrance to the unit 
office. The building to the right was constructed in 1888. The 
entire school was destroyed by fire Jan. 10. 1912. 


cost of ^10,000. Two new teachers were engaged. Miss Anna 
Pike and Miss Millie Sheffer. 

There was a basement with two large furnaces with plenty 
of room for coal and kindling, two large playrooms. On the 
first floor were two large rooms seating 64 each room, these 
housing primary grades. Likewise, on second floor were two 
large rooms each seating 64 each, housing the intermediate 
and upper grades. 

The school was built on Lots 4 and 5 in Block 31. First 
Addition to Gibson, on the west half of the block, the front 
entrance facing Mclvin Street. The building was opened on 
Friday, December 4, 1874. 

It had a large belfry built on Christmas Day by Fred Potts 
and George Wood, pioneer carpenters, for the sum of $15. The 
belfry contained a very large, clear sounding bell that could 
be heard all over the town and for some distance out on the 
prairie in all directions. The janitor at the time of the opening 
of the building was L. L. Flora. He was well loved by the 
children. If the children were running to reach school on time 
when it came time to ring the bell, he was known to hold off 
on the "tardy bell" to allow them to enter their class on time. 

A sidewalk built of planks completely .surrounded the 
building. It was 12 feet wide and was built two feet off the 
ground, allowing a most wondrous playing space for the 
children on those days when the ground was muddy. 

A small building was added at the same location in 1882 and 
a new addition to the original brick structure in 1888. so that 
the educational system at that time was located in one unit 
and valued at $30,000. 

On January 10, 1912, occurred a disastrous fire destroying 

the entire unit. A new grade school building was completed at 
the same location in 1912 at a cost of $.50,000. Plans for a new 
high school building at the north end of town had been in 
progress since 1910. and that building (now the Junior High 
School) was dedicated Friday, October 27. 1911 at a cost of 

Additional buildings have been added as needs arose. In 
1971 Gibson City boasLsa most up - to - date educational plant 
comparable with that of any town of similar size in the state 
with facilities to meet educational needs of every child. 

The present Community Unit District No. 1 consists of the 

Two elementary schools (Elliott and Gibson) Total 
enrollment 507. 

One junior high 
Enrollment 432. 

One high school 
enrollment 423. 

(2 buildings) 
(2 buildings) 

in Gibson City - Total 
in Gibson City 



Total enrollment 

Faculty of 80 including administrators. 

The old bell used in the first school building was saved from 
the 1912 fire and kept in the new grade school where it lay idle 
for many years. It now stands in an honored place at the 
north door of the administrative building at 217 E. 17th St. 

In the community is located a regional office of the Illinois 
Education Association, serving 10 surrounding counties. 

Colleges serving the immediate area are Parkland Junior 
College in Champaign. University of Illinois in Champaign, 
Illinois Stale University at Normal, and Illinois Wesleyan 
University at Bloomington. 




By Bill Ogg, GCHS junior 

The first high school in Gibson City met in the upper story 
of the grade school. Classes began in the fall of 1876, with the 
first class, of four members, graduating in 1880 The second 
class had eight members, and the class of '82 had only three 
members. The school was then called Gibson City High 
School. There are very few records available of the first high 

In 1911, due to the grade school fire, it was necessary to 
build a new school. Separate buildings for the grade school 
and the high school were built. In that time our high school 
(the present Jr. High building) was considered an out- 
standing school in the state. Mr. Albert Poplett, who gave the 
school twenty-six years of service, helped to build the 

With the new school, a new district was formed which took 
in the entire township. The school name became D.T.H.S. In 
the fall of 1911 the new high school opened its doors to 120 
students. There were twenty members in the class of '12 the 
first class to graduate from the new high school. 

At that time Baccalaureate was held in the Methodist 
Church. This was the first year that baccalaureate service 
was held. Commencement was held at the Chautauqua 
Pavilion in the North Park. Mrs. Ruth Loy remarked that the 
most unusual thing about the high school graduation was that 
the students had charge of the entire program. One of the 
highlights of graduation of 1923 was a trumpet solo by Ethel 
Bulger. (Mrs. Kumler, whom many of us had for a fourth 
grade teacher.) Another highlight was The Hatchet 
Oration.' This was given by a senior girl, dressed in an Indian 
costume. The oration was taken from Longfellow's 
"Hiawatha." At the end of the oration, she would present the 
torch to a representative from the junior class, who would 
give a short response, on behalf of the entire class. There was 
a great deal of feeling which went along with this tradition, 
which was discontinued in the latter 1920's. 

The early drama's were held also at the Chautaqua 
Pavilion in the North Park. The Pavilion was protected from 
rains by doors all away around it. The only problem was if it 
rained several inches; then the pavilion started to flood. 

In the fall of 1922 Mr. Loy came to Drummer. In that year 
he organized the first student council. He also organized and 
directed the first boy's glee club. Charter members who still 
reside in this area include Frank Hunt, Ezra Johnson, and 
Phillip Myers. 

An interesting club of the early twenties was the Hiking 
Club. The 1923 "Drummer" says, "We have hiked to places 
like Drummer Grove, each time increasing the distance, and 
thereby testing our powers of endurance." 

In 1923 the first orchestra was organized. It consisted, 
instrumentally, of violins, cornets, trombones, clarinets, and 
a piano. The" first pianists include Gertrude and Verna 
Harder, and Lauretta Warfield (Kerchenfaut) all of whom 
became piano teachers in the area. 

In 1923 a chapter of the National Honor Society was for- 
med. This chapter was No. 187. This was an early chapter, as 
there are now thousands of chapters. The name was changed 
in 1956, from The Drummer Chapter to the Wm. M. Loy 
Chapter. Among the eight charter members still residing in 
the area are Evelyn Dueringer, and Francis Bryant. 

It was interesting to note that in 1923, Onarga Military 
Academy wrote a letter to the football team congratulating 
them on their conduct on the field. 

In 1923, Drummer won the Ford County Basketball tourn- 
ament. The eight schools involved in the tournament were: 
Paxton, Melvin, Sibley, Roberts, Piper City, Kempton, 
Cabery and Drummer. 

The trophy case, still in use in the main hall of the present 
junior high was dedicated in 1926 by that year's senior class. 

The debating team of 1928 made a clean sweep to the 
district finals winning every debate until the finals. 

The gymnasium was added in 1929. That years class was 
the first to have their promotional exercises in the new gym. 
Plays could also be held in it. 

The dance of the twenties was the Charleston. There were 
expressions such as "Oh you kid" and "Twenty three 

In 1931 the Wauseca Trophy was presented to the 
basektball team. They had a season of no losses. 

The Future Farmers of America Chapter was organized in 
1931 to create a greater interest in agriculture. The Home 
Economics Club began in 1933. This was reorganized to form 
the Future Homemakers of America chapter around 1947. 

When, in 1932, Miss Green (Mrs. DeWall) was hired as 
commercial teacher many of the board members thought she 
was too good looking to hire. 

In 1930 the orchestra was disbanded and a band was for- 
med. The 1937 yearbook states 'our band is one of the highest 
rated in the state, winning the district contest for six con- 
secutive years and the national contest for three consecutive 

The band attended the national contest in 1933 in Evanston, 
receiving a second. The contest also enjoyed a day at the 
Chicago World's Fair. In 1934, due to a shortage of funds, the 
band was unable to travel to Des Moines, Iowa, for the 
national contest, but in 1936 they traveled to Cleveland, Ohio, 
bringing home a "first". In 1940 the band was selected to 
attend Battle Creek, Michigan, where they earned a 'first' 
rating. The band was under the direction, during these years 
of Mr. Byron Wyman, now residing in Champaign. 

In the fall of 1935 the first football game of the season was 
postponed because of a scarlet fever outbreak. The football 
team of 1938 was undefeated. The team of '39 had an un- 
defeated record until the last game of the season when 
Paxton beat Drummer 3 - 0. 

Until 1936 there was no full time secretary. For a few years 
before this Pauline Goodrich (Hudson) and Doris Summers 
(Tjardes) served as part time secretaries. Verna Spry 
(Buck ) was hired in 1936 as the first full time secretary. 

The thirties found teenagers dancing to the 'Big Apple', 
and the Lambeth Walk, while the forties brought the 'Jit- 

It was in 1939 that the shops building was completed. With 
its completion came a new course: Building Trades. The 
class under the direction of Mr. Fred Anderson, and Mr. 
Harold Fildes, built eight houses between the years 1939 and 

1956. It was that year that the course was discontinued. Three 
vears later the D. 0. program was introduced. 

In 1940 Miss Thomassen began the first Discussion Groups. 
These were held for freshman, on Wednesday 8th hour. 

The first annual "Messiah" was presented by people in the 
community along with the high school chorus on Dec. 17, 


It was in 1944 when Baccalaureate services were first held 
at the high school instead of the Methodist Church. 

In 1945 the basketball team won the county tournmanet. 

In 1945 students had a magazine campaign, raising enough 
money to purchase a nicklelodeon and records, to be used for 

The fall of 1954 found students entering a new high school. 
The dedication ceremony was held in the fall of the year, 
with Gov. Stratton as guest speaker. 

It was in 1956 that Mr. Page became the district superin- 


tendent. ,In 1960 Mr. Trotter replaced Mr. A. J. McKinney as 

Quill and Scroll, the honorary organization for the jour- 
nalists, was reinstated after an absence of thirty five years. 

In 1957 the Future Nurses of America were organized to aid 
high school students prepare for and select a career in 

The Future Teachers of America were also organized in 
1957 Mr. Page was the founder of the club, which was named 
in honor of Miss Thomassen. 

In 1963 the Jr. Varsity Football team showed great 
promise. The varsity team won two out of nine games while 
the JV's lost only two out of seven games. 

Wrestling, which was first introduced for a few years, in 

the early thirties, was organized agam in 1966. 

In 1966 Mr. Clarence Poplett retired after thirty years as 
janitor. A car was presented to him for his years of service. 

In 1968 the Basketball team advanced to the sectional 
tournament. This was the farthest our school's team had ever 

In 1969 the Band and Chorus won the Sweepstakes Award at 
the State Contest. 

The Boy's Glee Club was organized in 1970, after an a^ 
sence of six years. 

The Spring of 1971 brought about the resignation of Miss 
Thomassen after forty years of service, in which she 
mi.ssed only one day. When asked whpt type of a gift she 
would like most she very unselfishly requested that the 
money be placed in the Student Loan Fund, of the F.T.A. 




illllllll iilllllillV iiiitiiii iliiiiillliiiri»l 

i. ' in t . i . 1.1 J 

High Schoo 


Decorations for the Corn Carnival for the J. L. Saxton and J. H. White stores were designed by L. C. 
Wright. Picture was dated Oct. 2, 1903. The solid body of this decoration was made of one - half inch 
boards painted in light blue with cold water paint with corn. oats, corn shucks, stalks and materials 
suitable for a cereal decoration. The upper grill work was made of kaffir corn stalks. The upper 
border was made of small bunches of oats. 











The Corn Carnivals in Gibson City were a unique festival, 
verv unlike (he carnival companiesof a later date. 

Begun in the early 1900's. they were an annual October 
event until the Chautauqua craze hit the scene. Each year in 
the early spring, a committee was named and headed by Hi 
Arrowsmith and John Swanson. who journeyed to Chicago 
and engaged free acts for the following October. 

Platforms were erected in each block of Sangamon Avenue 
for free entertainment such as aerials, bicycles, high dives, 
etc. A big band from Bloomington or Decatur was hired and 
played for the whole week. No carnival companies, as such, 
were permitted. Concessions, however, were allowed such as 


merry - go - rounds, ferris wheels, and some side shows. 

School was let out and the entire population of Gibson City 
celebrated Corn Carnival Week. 

One of the highlights was a huge parade which featured 
bands and decorated floats, pony carts, buggies, etc. - many 
used real flowers for the elaborate decorations. 

The entire business district was decorated using corn 
stalks and many other grains for designs. 

The climax of the week was a ball at Burwell Opera House, 
(now the Masonic Lodge) on Saturday night attended by 
young and old alike - all dancing to a good orchestra. 

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The Gibson Home Chautauqua Association was formed on 
March 13, 1916. Interested citizens held a meeting in the old 
Masonic Hall, which was above what is now Loys Stores. 

C. J. Robertson was elected the first president. Other of- 
ficers were John Mollis, vice - president; Miss Chloe Rady. 
secretary: and John McClure. treasurer. 

The Chautauqua entertainment was scheduled for July 20 - 
25. Talent cost $925 and admission was 25 cents. 

The most famous person to present a program was the 
great orator William Jennings Bryan, who spoke on Monday, 
July 24 

The association ended the season with $13.78, and on 
August 4. a permanent Chautauqua organization, known as 
the Gibson City Chautauqua Association, was incorporated 
under state laws 

Besides providing top entertainment for the residents, the 
association built a $10,000 pavilion in Mellinger Park, 
commonlv known as the North Park. 


The Rev. William A. Sunday, the most celebrated 
evangelist and revivalist of the late 1800's. appeared in 
Gibson during June and July of 1907. 

He preached here for seven weeks, day and night, to 
crowds that packed a huge tabernacle built specifically for 
the purpose. The tabernacle was located at the corner of 6th 
St. and Sangamon Ave. 

A group of local business leaders, also leaders in their own 
churches, persuaded Sunday to come to Gibson City. 
Members of that group included Dr. W. A. Hoover, Dr. C. W. 
Knapp, and Percy Lowry. 


The Gibson City High School athletic field was the scene for 
the Billy Graham Evangelistic Crusade held July 17-31, 1%6. 

Many months of detailed planning (started in Dec, 1965) 
went into this great Crusade which drew people from all over 

East Central Illinois. It was officially advertised as the East 
Central Illinois Billy Graham Crusade. 

During the two weeks, thousands went forward to dedicate 
or re - dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ. 

The crusade received its Certificate of Incorporation 
papers on Dec. 7. 1965. Named as board of directors in the 
articles of incorporation were Ellis Unzicker. general 
chairman of the successful religious event; the Rev. Jack 
Kaley then minister of the former Evangelical United 
Brethren Church; the Rev. Lester Ringham of the -First 
Christian Church; Mrs. Thomas (Valeria) Hunt, secretary; 
John E. Wilson. Piper City, treasurer; Frank Hubert, 
Say brook; and Mrs. Gladys Gottschalk. Anchor. 

Others sen'ing on the executive committee as chairmen 
from this area were the Rev. James Pollard of the Gibson 
City Bible Church; Clifford Shaner; Warren Page, the Rev. 
Roger Boyd, Mrs. Ron Hayse of Elliott, L. F. Swanson, 
Dwight (Dike) Eddleman and the Rev. Leo Ewing of the 
Methodist Church. Mrs. Jon (Jean) Hunt served as office 

Dr. John Wesley White was the evangelist during the two 
weeks. His dynamic sermons led many to respond to his call. 

The crusade here was organized to include 33 area towns 
and villages, covering a population of approximately 47.000 

A choir of over 200 voices sang nightly. The final night of 
the crusade featured nationally known gospel singer George 
Beverly Shea. One of the largest crowds in the city's history 
gathered at the football field that night. Cars were parked 
everywhere, all the chairs were filled and some brought their 
own folding chairs and blankets. 

The crusade drew wide publicity and is still considered by 
(he Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as one of its 
greatest successes. Crusades sponsored by the BGEA rarely 
plan such events in small towns. 


The Coliseum in Gibson City was built about 1907 by Martin 
Roslyn and Dr. Frank Hunt, Sr. In essence it was the home of 
the "Yours Truly Basketball Team", a professional home 
town team that toured, met and conquered teams all over the 
state, even playing the Harlem Globetrotters of that day. 

The Coliseum was the palace for the roller skaters in the 
day when roller skating rivalled local dancing events. 

So enthusiastic were the patrons of the "Yours Truly 
Team" that one father and mother brought their youngest, 
placed him under the seats which surrounded the playing 
field to sleep. After the excitement of the game, the parents 
returned home only to discover that they had left the infant 
under the seat, locked in the Coliseum. 



Sunday Afternoons, 3 U'clnck 

Nov. 2i. "Christ's Second Coming. 
Why? How? When?" 

.Ni>v. M) "\iclory O'er The Grave" 

,^, , »«. 7 "The Two Salvations" 

New York PASTi IK S. AluKTit.V Nr«\«il« 

VnniMKi.K AMI FiiiKNri> Ahk I'okih.ii.i.v Isvitki. 



Taking part in the Corn Carnival parade held in October 1909 were (from left) Stanley Means, 
Frank Hunt Jr., William C. Bryant, Gretchen Wilkinson Potts, fred McClure and Alyce Hunt 



In less than two years after the first business was 
established in the village, the citizens could boast of a fair. 
The F'air Association was organized in 1872 and the first fair 
was held in September of that year. 

. J. B. Lott set aside :iO acres in the northwest part of the 
town site, which was incorporated in the spring of that year 
for the fair grounds. The association elected Dr. J. E. Davis 
as president; W. H. Simms. secretary; and John H. Collier, 

A roofless amphitheater was constructed along the west 
side of the grounds and a band stand was built near the south 
end (if the race track, A floral hall located at the north side of 
the field held exhibits. 

There was no well at the fair grounds, so water had to be 
hauled in in barrels. Plenty of tin cups were on hand for use 
l)y I he thirsty public. 

On the first day of the fair held in 1875, after boring to a 
depth of 28 feet, a small stream of water burst forth at the 
surface which was of excellent quality, pure and cold. It was 
the first artesian well in this locality and continued to flow for 
many years. From that time on, a drink at this well was a 
great attraction at the fair. 

The fairs continued with much success for eight years with 
people coming from miles around to attend. The fair grounds 
were the scene of many races, Fourth of July celebrations 
and other events. 

The last fair was held in September 1879; the month and 
year that oneof its chief sponsors, J. B. Lott, died. 

Another race track was laid out on the farm of C. C. Pearce 
just east of the village in the early 1880s. Mr. Pearce had 
some race horses, as did Henry Friday of Anchor and Dr. J. 
W. Dickey and several others in the area. Many lively races 
took place at that track. 

A popular summer recreation was picnicking. There were 
no shade trees in the village. One traveler remarked. "The 
only shade here is a sunflower!" Not true - as many young 
trees were planted those first years, but needed time to grow. 
There were very few buggies or carriages in the village 
before 1880. so transportation to the groves was by horse and 
wagon. The closest to the village was Drummer Grove, a 
favorite place for young and old, and was within walking 
distance, if necessary. There were other groves farther away 
where some groups did go. Hayracks loaded with young 
people who did not mind the distance. Bicycles came into the 
town before too many years - streets and roads were none 
too good for such riding - but , who cared about that. 

Bicycle races also were held at the race tracks. 

would stand up on the side and pump the suction pump after 
the hose or "suction" was dropped into a cistern well or lank 
of water and "work" the pump to force a stream of water up 
through the hose. "Sometimes the men had to run and pull 
the hose cart by hand." 

In 189,5 the city laid water mains and erected a pumping 
station on north Melvin street. 

A 660 ■ fool high tower was built of brick with a steel lank on 
top which held 50,000 gallons of water. A ground reservoir 
held an equal amount and both were kept filled with water 
pumped from bored wells pumped by a turbine engine. 

A volunteer fire department was organized with A. B. 
Siverling as the fire chief. Hose carts were added and a new 
fire engine purchased by the town with a team of beautiful 
black horses to pull the equipment. The hose carts were 
pulled by dray wagons or any conveyance that was handy. 

(Note: No dates can be authenticated on the above in- 

There was no fire alarm until 1892 when S. J. LeFevre built 
the first electric light plant, and placed a siren on the steam 
boiler. When a fire occured, the plant would be notified and 
the citizens would hear long, hair ■ raising blasts of the 
whistle, one for the first ward, two for ward two, three for the 
third ward, letting the population and the firemen know 
where the fire was located. 

When the city hall was built in 1906, the historic bell from 
the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was purchased by the 
city and hung in the tower of the city hall. This bell was used 
as the fire alarm until fire destroyed the city hall in 19.37. 

When the new city hall was built, an electric siren was 
placed on the tower and was operated by a switch from the 
telephone office. 

In 1895 the city provided the firemen with uniforms. On 
November 29 of that year they staged the first Fireman's 
Ball in Burwell's Opera House. There was a very large at- 
tendance. These affairs have continued in various places 
since that time. 

After the city purchased a hook and ladder wagon the local 
firemen won the State Championship for three con.secutive 
years, at Clinton. Blue Island and LaSalle. In 1900 they 
received a Silver Trumpet. Some of the members at that time 
were: Al Hawkins (?), Fred Jones. Charles Kelso, A. Haupt, 
Bert Ball, Forrest Eggleston, Ira Gilmore, Ed Crowdy. Jay 
Gregory. "Pet" Thomas. Kirk Gregory, Loyal Wright. Albert 
Gilchrist and Frank Patton, 


In the early days the only means of fighting a fire in the 
village was by the "bucket brigade." When a fire was 
discovered, the call of "fire. fire, fire." aroused every one. 

Young Dr. Ragsdale usually raced to the livery stable for 
his horse and rode through the streets giving the alarm, 
which brought out able ■ bodied citizens to help fight the fire. 

Buckets would be filled at the "pump wells" nearest to the 
blaze and passed hand to hand to be thrown on to the burning 
building. H. H. Ward had been a Chicago fire - man before 
coming to Gibson and always took charge of directing the 
bucket lines and fighting the fires until the first Volunteer 
Fire Department was organized. They had no equipment of 
any kind for many years. 

The first fire engine had a rail along the side and two men 


With no fire protection equipment in the early years of 
Gibson City, many fires raged out - of - hand and were fought 
only by willing hands manning bucket brigades as they 
struggled to save property. 

Headlines in the Gibson City Courier said damages in the 
earliest major fire in downtown Gibson amounted to $32,000. 
An account of the fire which occurred on the west side of 
Sangamon Avenue (100 block) on Tuesday. January 30. 1883 

The most destructive fire in the history of Gibson was on 
Tuesday morning, which at one time threatened to sweep 
away the whole town. A little after 2 a.m. the large frame 
building known as the Burwell building was discovered to be 


In Mrs. Mary Grim Pate's history of Gibson City is the 
following notation from her mother's diary: "Tuesday night, 
Feb. 4th, 1913. A very cold day. A big fire in town about 3 
o'clock this a.m. burned the Wade Store, Cady Drug Store, 
Poff Bros. Store and the American Express office." 

on fire by the night watchman, Peter Bowen. Knowing that 
the second floor was occupied by several roomers, he 
hastened to awaken them but discovered that they had been 
alerted and were fleeing for their lives; the fire having in 
such a short time, filled the upstairs with dense and suf- 
focating smoke. Nothing was saved by these people. 

The immense stock of clothing of the C. F. Baker store and 
the grocery stock of C. F. Buckman and Co. below were a 
total loss, as well as the J. H. Collier store next door to the 
north. A vacant lot, then the J. E. Crammond brick building 
to the north stopped thf flames after hundreds of willing 
hands formed bucket brigades and poured water on the roofs 
and sides of surrounding buildings which were all of wood 
construction with coal houses and cribs in the rear. 

Had the other buildings caught fire nothing would have 
prevented the fire from burning clear to the Illinois Central 
depot. The danger was so threatening that these buildings 
were emptied of their contents into the street 

The buildings to the south of the Burwell building caught 
fire and burned. These were two - story and the occupants 
had time to get some of their effects out. Mr. Robertson's 
furniture store and Goff Photograph were in these buildings. 

A barrel of gun powder in the J. H. Collier hardware store 
exploded throwing charred boards as far as the Wabash 

The citizens worked with heroic efforts to check the flames 
and save property. Water was carried in buckets as fast as it 
could be pumped from the well in the neighborhood. 

Mr. Crammond gathered up what he could of his stock that 
was carried out of his building and opened up the next day 
under the Union Hall. 

There was much looting, by persons not seeming to care 

about the loss and suffering of their neighbors. One man was 
seen to pick out a coat for himself and a shawl for his wife! 
Another person was seen to fill his pockets with small but 
valuable articles from the New York Store, then strike out for 

Matt Waples, a furniture dealer, and undertaker who made 
many coffins, found one of his, carefully hidden away under 
J. W. Saxton's sidewalks, with three pair of pants from the 
New York store stuffed in it. Some fellow was evidently 
preparing for his journey to the next world. He was con- 
siderate, however, as he had picked out a cheap coffin. 

Mr Burwell and Mr. Collier immediately started to rebuild 
their buildings and the walls were about ready for the roofs 
when a violent wind storm hit the village at 10 o'clock, July 
13, 1883. The wind raged for nearly an hour. The upper joists 
and siding were blown down, breaking some of the lower 

The damage from this storm was repaired and these 
buildings were ready for occupancy by mid - December. 
The Second Major Fire 
August 22, I8X,5 

The second major fire in the history of Gibson was on 
Saturday night, August 22, 1885, just a little over two years 
after the destructive fire of 1883 Both of them between 8th 
and 9th streets but on opposite sides of the street. This one 
was on the east side of Sangamon Avenue. 

This second fire was at the North end of the block and 
consumed five buildings with a loss of $8000. The fire had 
started in the floor of J. D. Hannugans Cigar Store and 
spread rapidly. 

.J. H. White's Grocery Store to the south was consumed. 
The small wooden building used as a barber shop by Mark 
Anthony was 'orn down to stop the fire, as was the Harper 


This page sponsored by 
Gibson Pumbing & Heating and James A. 
Taylor, Contractor and Lamb Funeral Home 

building The brick building housing the MalHnson and 
Wilson Bank was also destroyed. 

The town pump across the street from the bank and the 

wells at the yards of the homes on Church street furnished 

water for the bucket brigades that helped to finally halt the 

flames before the whole block burned 

The Third >Iajor Fire 

April 1.1. ismi 

The third major fire in the early days of Gibson was again 
on the east side of Sangamon Ave in the block between 
eighth and ninth streets. 

It started at night in the restaurant of H. P. and William 
Arrowsniith, who slept in the back room of the building. 
Hearing the roar of the flames, they escaped and gave the 

Dr. W. W. Ragsdale, a young physician in the village, saw 
the fire, rushed to the liven,' stable for his horse, and rode 
over the town, crying "Fire. Fire. Fire" and aroused the 

This was the customary means of arousing the people 
especially at night. 

Horace N. Ward who had been a Chicago fireman for some 
time and had served during the Chicago fire, always ran to 
our fires and took charge directing the bucket lines and 
fighting the fires. 

Six buildings were burned and the windows in the Lamb's 
Furniture Store across the street fell out. 

None of the original buildings on the east side of Sangamon 
Avenue were left standing after this fire. 

()iTST\M)i\(; ( rn/K\ awahi) 

The Chamber of Ciinunerce ui l!it)2 nutiated an award lobe 
presented each year lo a citizen or organi/aiion in 
recognition for Ihcir work towards Ihe betterment of ilic city 
and for community ser\ice. 

The winner of the award is chosen from nominations 
submitted by citizens lo an anonymous committee, who 
selects Ihe "Outstanding Citizen " The recipient is kept a 
secret and announced at the annual dinner meeting nf Ihe 
chamber in February each year. 

The following people have been named Cibson dly's 
"Outstanding Citizen": 

Verle Kramer. I!t62. who died in November. 1968: Mrs L(K'1 
(Margaret I Helmick. I%:i. who died in June, 1970: Frank 
Hunt Jr . l9(;-»: Orren Pierce. 196.S; the Rev. Jack Kalev. 
1961;: Mrs. W T. ( Helen i Francis. 1967: Dr. E. C. Bucher, 
1968: Gibson City Volunteer Fire Department. 1969: and 
Ernest Brown, 1970. 

g^M l^^^'^^j-^ mmMmv^^^-^ 

Children's parade of the 19(ih Corn Carnival included the following youngsters: i from left i Fred 
Met lure, unidentified, .\lyce Hunt Preston. Harold Kemple. Marjorie Kemple. Mary Frances Culter 
Stubbert. .\nita Palmer Houran. Percy Wood, Clarence Barrow. Holden White and Pete Palmer. 



The first dwelling in the village of Gibson was built by 
William Moyer, a grain merchant. It was constructed near 
Ihe railroad track west of the Illinois Central depot, ac- 
cording to Mary Grim Pate's history of Gibson City. 

The house was considered to be "very fine" for those days 
but Mr. Moyer decided to build a large one farther from the 
railroad. His first house was moved to the east side of the 
street in Block 12, Original Town, now known as Church 
street, just south of the Dungan and LeFevre houses. It was 
later torn down. 

"In June 1873 Mr. Moyer erected a one - and - a - half story 
cottage on the corner lot of what is now 10th and North Wood 
Streets. Now, in 1940, when this history is being written, it 
seems to be in as good condition as when it was built, but has 
been moved to the south side of the lot and faces to the west. 

The present address is 218 N. Wood St. 

The house has been owned by a number of people. Mr. and 
Mrs. Caleb McKeever lived there during the late 1890's and 
early 1900's until they passed away. The house was also 
owned by the Joseph Ehresmans, who at one time rented it to 
Ihe Harvey Rasmussen family. After Dr. Potts purchased the 
property, the Rasmussens lived there for a while, until it was 
made into his office. 

H. L. Gregory, a pioneer merchant, built a pretentious 
house on the corner lot and many social functions were held 
there in the early days. The Knapp family owned it and also 
Ihe Barber family. A fire completely destroyed the structure 
and in the early 1930's the late Dr. A. L. Potts purchased the 
property and erected a modern brick home. He used the 
former Moyer house as his office for a time and after he 
moved his office to 214 N. Sangamon Ave. in downtown 
Gibson Citv, Ihe house was rented. Former Postmaster 

Hazeii L i Zigg\ ' t-.insi rented itie house for some years. In 
1951 Dr. Potts' daughter and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Alan 
Broaddus, moved into the home. The house was sold in 1970 to 
Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Jones when the Broaddus family pur- 
chased the former Potts' residence on the corner. 

The Moyer house originally had 10 - foot ceilings and the 
structure has been enlarged through the years. 

Over the years, additions have been made to the original 
structure - which featured 10 - foot high ceilings. The house 
now has a living room, dining room, kitchen, three small 
bedrooms and a bath downstairs. 


Gibson City helped the state of Illinois celebrate its Sesquicentennial year in 1968 with a huge parade. 
One of the features was the Mohammed Shrine band from Peoria, which was scheduled to return to 
Gibson City for the Centennial celebration parade in 1971. .Another marching band in the "Sesqui" 
parade was the Great Lakes Naval Training Station band. 

Pens of livestock were plentiful in the early days of the annual Community Sale. Thousands of people 
from area towns and neighboring stales come to buy bargains in used farm equipment. The sale has 
continued for Itti years. It is alw ays held the first Thursday in .March. 

Old-fashioned Halloween parade was an annual event each year. Young and old turned 
out for the parade. 



Gibson City has been the scene of many railroad accidents 
down through the years, but probably the most spectacular 
occurred at 10 minutes to midnight on Thursday night, Oct. 
M. 1954. The Nickel Plate Railroads "Whiskey Pete", 
eastbound from Peoria, roared through an open switch and 
piled up in a huge tangle of cars which spilled hogs and wheat 
down the block from Sangamon .Avenue to Church Street. 
Miraculously, there were no injuries, even though the two 

locomotives were in the biggest stack of cars, and very little 
property damage to Gibson City. However, the railroad 
termed it a "million dollar accident", and it required nearly 
a week to clear the wreckage and open the tracks to rail 
traffic. Oldtimers recalled that the train earned the 
nickname "Whiskey Pete" in the days when it hauled large 
quantities of liquor eastward from Peoria, passing through 
(libson City at around midnight. 












Traveling on horseback or walking, the first settlers to 
come lo the Gibson City area found swamps and a vast sea of 
prairie grass, higher than a horse's back. Trails made by 
Indian hunting parties, along with wagon trails were the only 
roads. Horses and wagons hauled the farm produce to distant 
markets and brought back supplies and materials to build the 
early houses. 

The coming of the railroads opened up the country for 
settlement, agricultural and industrial development. By 1874 
Gibson City was the intersection of three railroads. 

Jonathon B. Lott, a man who made things happen, secured 
a station on his property of the Gilman, Clinton, and 
Springfield Rail Road, built in 1871. In 1876 the Illinois 
Central system acquired this section of railroad and it 
became a portion of their main line from Chicago to St. Louis. 
J. E. Miller was the first agent and the depot was built up 
high on poles to keep out of the water. 

Never underestimate the help of friends! Jonathon Lott's 
next move was to get the LaFayette, Bloomington and 
Mississippi Railroad to come through Gibson City. Jonathon 
B. Cheney and Haines Cheney of Bloomington helped secure 
the right of way. Joseph Fifer, later governor of Illinois, 
helped his Civil War comrade, Mr. Lott, bring this line 
through Gibson City instead of three miles south as originally 
surveyed. The first regular train service began in the spring 
of 1872 on this line, now known as the Peoria branch of the 
Norfolk and Western. 

The Chicago and Paducah Railroad could easily have 
passed west of Gibson City, but witnesses say it was surveyed 
on Saturday night and Sunday, coming right through Spring 
Street of Gibson City to avoid the question of right of way. 
Completed in 1874 with F. E. Williamson as first agent, this 
railway is now known as the Decatur branch of the Norfolk 
and Western. 

These same three railroads still serve Gibson City by 
transporting much freight each year. Mayor Don Craig, 
agent of the Norfolk and Western, reports that business has 
increased considerably since the merger of the former 
Wabash and Nickel Plate lines. The Illinois Central Railroad, 
in charge of agent Charles W. Nelson, handles a great deal of 
freight, linking Gibson City with Chicago and St. Louis. 

Passenger service for both local railways was terminated 
May 1 with the beginning of Amtrak. The interlocking tower, 
maintained 24 hours per day, controls the train traffic 
through Gibson City. Approximately 680 trains pass through 
our city each month. 

W. M. Case, Bart Wright, Jim Blades and Roy Nazaris 

Kngine No. k:!. sporting two steam domes, is a typical 
wood burner seen in the early days of railroading. The 
railroad depot was the scene of much activity in the early 
years of (iibson City, as citizens relied on passenger 
service to get from one town to another, as well as to haul 

This page sponsored by 
Lehigh Paving Co., Nationwide Glove Co 
nc Drug Store and L. F. Swanson & Son 

Railway passenger service to and from Gibson City came to an end 
after 100 years with the beginning of Amtrack May 1, 1971. One of 
the last passenger trains leaves Gibson City via the Illinois Central 
Railroad. IC employees pictured are (from left Dan Sapp, assistant 
trainmaster; Mrs. Bud O'Neal, clerk; and Charles Nelson, agent. 



In the early days of Gibson City, horse - drawn lumber 
wagons, buggies, two - wheel carts and spring wagons hauled 
supplies and persons along the often dusty or muddy streets 
of the town and surrounding rural area. A well - trained 
riding or driving team was a most valued possession. Dr. 
Davis had the first buggy in 1875. George Trailor had one of 
the first "democrats" (a spring wagon with two seats) and 
rented it to young men such as Alf Barrow and Will Reader 
in the Scotland School area for a $1.00 a night; Mrs. W. C. 
Mot tier, his daughter, remembers her mother felt this was 
an extravagant purchase, when "we had a perfectly good 
lumber wagon to go in!" 

Later came the carriage, the rubber tired buggy, the 
bobsleds and cutters, and the pheaton. D. M. Dixon and 
George Haupl opened early harness shops by 1874. Peter 
Poison, an early blacksmith in 1874. sold it to William Mc- 
Conncll in 1878. John S. and Wylie Moore opened a wagon 
shop in 1877 opposite McConnell's blacksmith shop. David 
Snyder and later John Pagle operated livery stables. (The 
latter was located on the present library site.) 

When bicycling became popular in 1897. the young ladies 
organized a "cycling club" with Misses Gertrude McClellan. 
Edith Wade and Nellie Johnston as officers. 

In the early 19O0's the people of Gibson City area looked for 

some way to improve their muddy or dusty roads and streets. 
Jacob D. Mellinger was instrumental in getting main street 
graveled about 1890. and as road commissioner, he promoted 
the first pike or gravel road in this area. Soon other stieets 
and roads were graveled. Sangamon Avenue was paved in 

The wooden sidewalks in Gibson City were built upon poles 
two or three feet high from the street level to keep out of the 
water during the rainy seasons. By 1890 the first brick 
sidewalks were being built and a few years later the first 
concrete sidewalk was laid on North Lott Boulevard at the 
corner of lllh Street. 

As the automobile became more common, Illinois began to 
build roads of concrete or asphalt. Gibson City is the in 
tersection of three major highways. Route 9. 47 and 54. 
Illinois Route 9 (east ■ west) was built in 1924 and resurfaced 
in 1968-69. Illinois Route 47 (north - south) was originally built 
in 1932 and resurfaced in 1969. U. S. 54 (trans- slate road from 
Chicago to El Paso. Texas) was constructed in 19:u :!2 and 
resurfaced to the north of Gibson City in 1970. 

Drummer Township contains over 79 miles of roads; high- 
way commissioner Albert Schmidt reports that all these are 
blacktopped. with the exception of only three miles of gravel 
road. In 1971 Gibson City is proud of its many streets of 
concrete, brick or asphalt, with most of the alleys graveled 
or resurfaced with asphalt. 

Drivhif^ her tiorse, Nellie, for one of thp Corn Carnival parades in 
llie early IIKMIs is Miss Ma\me Harrow, who later became Mrs. 
.lesse Schert/. K\ tliat time the streets in the city were bricked. In 
the backHround some of the ( orn Carnival decorations can be seen. 


Sleighs and cutters pulled by horses furnished 
the winter transportation in Gibson City's early 
days. Mrs. Lucy Culter is pictured at the corner 
of Sangamon and 11th St. The Saxton home is on 

the corner where the Gibson Federal Savings 
and Loan Ass'n is now. The old Presbyterian 
Church and the Cumberland Presbyterian 
Church can be seen in the bacliground. 

Tom and Charlie were the names of the matched pair that pulled John F. Riblefs hack in the early 


High board sidewalks, a few wooden awnings and hitching posts - and lots of mud - is the Sangamon 
Avenue of the early I900's. Shown here on Gibson City's main street are some buggies and wagons 
pulled by horses. Driving the team in the center of the picture is Sam Preston. 

A picture post card of Gibson City's business 
district shows the way cars were parked "in the 
good old days." At right is the old city hall 

building. This post card was provided by Vernon 
Anderson and uas dated Sept. 7. 1927. 


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Gibson Citians saw their first aeroplane Sept. 29, 1910, 
when Walter Brookins flew the Wright "B" via the "iron 
compass" (the ICC tracks) from Chicago to Springfield. 
Fifteen year old Curtiss La Q Day launched his 20 foot 
biplane glider in March, 1911, from an embankment north of 
town, breaking all its lower ribs, but he continued learning to 
fly whenever school and family pressures allowed. 

In July, 1915, Gibson City had its first close look at an 
aeroplane (red winged Benoist) when La Q Aeroplane 
Company sponsored flying exhibitions at the old fair grounds 
west of the Canning Company. "Satan" Day, dare - devil boy 
aviator, thrilled a large audience as he "soared and turned 
and banked and dipped ... in his baby biplane" 1500 feet 
above the ground, while the ball game continued, complete 
with band music, and the flight recorded on 0. B. Lowery and 
George Nix's movie film. (NOTE: Complete original stories 
of these events by La Q Day are in Aviation Scrapbook and 
Centennial Corner articles.) 

In World War I, Henry Hager was an aerial observor in 
France in 1918. "Ace" pilot William Brotherton was killed in 
aerial combat in France in 1918 and was honored by the 
"most imposing funeral every held in Ford County," when he 
was brought home for burial. 

Some of the World War II pilots from Gibson City were Bill 
Briggs, Loyal Crowe (both career Air Force men), Jack 

Hayse (served again in Korean conflict), Richard Schertz 
and William Utterback. 

An air strip for Gibson City was constructed in 1951 east of 
Gibson City along Rt. 54 on the Pearce Estate land, farmed 
by F. E. and Floyd Walker. Flyers active at this time were 
Woodrow Barnes, Elmer Colwell, D. A. Garard, Howard 
Peters, Lloyd Sawyer, and Monnie Wagonseller. The Gibson 
City Flying Club, formed in the early 1950's, presently owns 
two aircraft and has twelve members. 

Presently flying in the armed services are Army 1st Lt. 
Robert E. Hester and Marine 2nd Lt. Leland P. Walters. 
Airline pilots are Bill Greime with Eastern; David Roop, 
Port of Call Travel Club, and Loyal Crowe, TWA. 

Gibson City Municipal Airport, located five miles east of 
Gibson City, opened June 22, 1969. Developed by cooperative 
efforts of the Chamber of Commerpe, City Council, and many 
interested private citizens, the airport has a current 
estimated value of $65,000 with a cash investment of ap- 
proximately $20,000. Airport manager Dick Schertz leased a 
portion of his farm land to the city at $1.00 a year, so the 
airport could be constructed to serve the aeronautical needs 
of the local businesses and attract more industry to this area. 

Presently fifteen airplanes are based on the field, 
representing six local businesses and several within 15 mile 
radius. A flying school is established, charter business in 
operation and an instrument approach system in the offing. 
With the only hard surface runway in Ford County, Gibson 
City can truly be proud of this accomplishment. 


La Q Aeroplane Co.'s Benoist biplane shown at Cicero Susdorf, v.p.; Orris Harry, sec- treas.; George Bloom, 
Field. Chicago, 1915. At left, wearing cap, is William pres.; and La Q Day in cockpit. 


Early aviator was Curtiss La Q Day, shown here with his 
mother, Mrs. Margaret Day, in a Wright B aeroplane. 1914. 





Located five miles east of (iibson City, the airport was developed by cooperative efforts 
of the Chamber of Commerce, City Council and many interested citizens, on land 
donated by the Richard Schertz family. 


I'art of the (iibson City Municipal Airport is shown at the runway at the top is joined by taxiway running to hangars 
dedication, .June Tl. 1!M1!(. The half mile long hard surface under construction. Airplane tiedown area is at left. 


American l.cuinn and \ iici ans dl 1 .m ii-n \\ ii •- members made up 
the color guard which led the Mi'inoiial l)a> parade. 

World War II Honor Hull 





Lee Lm^Try Posl No. 568 of the American Legion was 
organized Nov 1 1 , 1919. The first meeting was held in Lms 
above Peter Sehertz Lumber Co. (Now Hager Lumbe" 

The charier lor the post was signed by the national com- 
mander Aug. 1, I920.andby the state commander on Aug. 20. 

The post was named in memory of Lee Lowerv who was 
killed Oct 29, I9I8 in World War I 

There were 50 charter members and Dr. R. N. Lane served 
as thegroups first commander. Three of them sfill liv» ,„^ 
"-■-de in Gibson City. They are Elmer Sawye^ Wa ter pS 
and Clifford Augspurger *^ ^" 

William D Barnhart was honored and presented a life 
membership in 1970. F'cseniea a lite 

The posl celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1969 
A big undertaking was the purchase of their downtown two 
^ lory building in 1944 located on the northwest corner of 9^ 
SI. and Sangamon Ave. (former I O F hall) 

On Dec 21, 1970, 14 World War I veterans held their fi«t 
reunion in 20 years at the Legion Hall. They voted to makel 
an annual county - wide event 'omaKeit 

The Sons of the American Legion unit was orcaniri^l in 
March 1971 with 15 charter members oi-ganized in 

A complete list of charter members follows 
Robert N.Lane, George W. Blades, J. F Main Wade Hool 
Charles E. Lowe,^ Jr., Earl G. Guy, Floyd Sawye"c 

^arbo'! p '°"- ^c"''y ^ «">•• Charles Whallon,AnTew R 
ElmeTsp'ar":- ''"^"' '™^" ' °^"-' ^^ ^ ^^"^P^. 

ChLfp.^''^''''"]• ^°^ Kightlinger, Hampton G. Bergstrom 
Charles C^L.ndauer, Virgil Speers, Walter Piatt fSb' 
Morgan^ Fred J. Glose, Harlow A. Stauffer E E PotJ 
Lucian Speer, L. H. Lohman, Fred W. Johnson^icha^d S: 

Hin^'^^,,^''^'''• ^' ^ ^^""^^ Thomas Brown Leonard F 

Harold M. Kempl^ Ern'm^^Lf R^^e^ ;^^fi„^„ |P^J,^. 
Robert Burns, Floyd Speedie, H. A. Lovet H W WiLn n' 

Cliri^Sr.^e?"^^^'"'-' ^'-^ ^" ""e^^i^ran'd 

Lee C. Lowery 
killed in action 
Sept. 26, 1918 

StaffSgt. John Keller 
Died April 24, 1942 

Lt. William Brotherton 
Died Oct. 10, 1918 

104 . 

Civil War veterans who marched in the 
Memorial Day parade in lilL'T included two Negro 
citizens in the community. The picture was taken 
on May 2!». 1!t27. A portion of the former 
Kvangelical I'nited Brethern Church is shown at 

right with the present Ivan Donner home in the 
hackground. Pictured from left are Page Price, 
Poly Wright. William -Paf Day. John Ross, 
Gilbert Jordan, Sam Kashner and George Haupt. 


Another era in the history of Gibson City came to an end in 
May, 19.37. when William "Pat" Day, a member of the Grand 
Army of the Republic, represented locally by Lott Post No. 
70, passed awav at the age of ninety - seven. 

Mr. Day enlisted in Company G of the thirty - seventh 
Illinois Volunteer Infantry in Chicago, there being no con- 

tingent in Gibson City. He participated in eleven major 
battles, and was wounded four times by Confederate bullets. 
He was in company with Sherman on his March to the Sea, 
his most important engagement being the battle of 
Vicksburg. On October fourth, 1864, he was honorably 
discharged and returned to Gibson City to resume farming. 


In 19,50, and early 1951. three men from Gibson City 
belonged In the Bloomington VFW post. They were Ed Fox, 
Bill Popletl, and Dick Goben. It was suggested to them that 
Ihev start a post in Gibson City. 

The first meeting was held March 11, 1951 at the Grade 
School These are the minutes of that first meeting: 

The meeting was called to order by Jack Duggins, 7th 
District Commander, with 23 applicants present. The 
obligation was given by Commander McReynolds of Post 454. 
The following men were elected to office: William Hoover, 
commander; Bill Scott, Sr. vice - commander; James 
Taylor, Jr. vice - commander; Dick Goben, quartermaster; 
and Dean Shull. adjutant. The regular meetings will be held 
on the first and third Thursdays of each month, at 7:30, at 
Goben's Bakery. 

L. J. Weber, Asst. Inspector 
Acting Adjutant 
Meeting places were Goben's Bakery, basement of the old 
library, around tables at the South Park, and the Boy Scout 
Cabin In May 1952, a vote was taken, and passed, to pur- 
chase the present building. 

Our first meeting in the new building was held in February 
1953. Our mortgage burning ceremony was held in December 

The building has been remodeled several times. The latest 
is the rear addition being made into a bar room. 

The Ladies Auxiliary was formed in December 1951, with 
the following officers: Maria Ehresman, president; Jean 

Grossman, Sr. vice - president; Freeda Theesfield, Jr. vice - 

president; Mary Lou Ferguson, treasurer; and Janine Shull, 


Past Commanders 

Dr. R. N. Lane, 1920; J. F. Main, 1921; A. C. Rasmussen, 
1922; Chas. Whalen, 1923; W. R. PlatI, 1924; Ray Speedie, 
1925; Chas. Keller. 1926; A. Brading. 1927; G. M. Rickelts, 
1928; H. Murry, 1929; 

Joe Schrock, 19,30; Simon Denne (deceased April 13, 1931 ); 
William Wilken (unexpired term of S. Denne). and 1932; 
Roy Main, 1933; Lee Barnhart, 1934; Henry Hager, 19,35; Dr. 
L. E. Potts, 19,36; W. M. Loy, 19,37; Glen Fitzpatrick, 1938; W. 
L. Barnhart, 19,39; 

R. O. Ringhand. 1940; George Swearingen, 1941; Clifford 
Augspurger, 1942; Clifford Okey, 1943; Dwight Aug.spurger, 
1944; Richard Goodcll, 1945; Lyle Kashner, 1946; Andy 
Rovnolds, 1947; Mandel Loeb, 1948; Owen Crowe, 1949; 

Keith Sample, 19,50; Chas. Willetts, 1951; Corlis Fmis (un- 
expired term of C. Willctsi. 1951; Earl Wright, 1952; Robert 
Deener. 1953; Frederick Zander, 19.54; LynnOgg, 1955; Glenn 
Barrow, 1956; William Zimmerman, 1957; Henry Wilken, 
1958; John Thomsen (unexpired term of H. Wilken) 19,58; 
George Lange. 19,59; 

Donald Hudson. 1960; Richard Rhodes, 1961; John Sample, 
1962; Orville Willemsscn, 1963: David Randa, 1964; Charles 
Schutte, 1%5; Harry Ricks, 1966; John Muters, 1967; Frank 
Berkler. 1968; Wayne Perkins, 1969; Robert Thomsen, 1970 
and Charles Bane," 1971. 



Women Relief Corps. Auxiliary Grand Army of Republic, 
was organized and the charter was signed April 16, 1885. 

There were 37 members and the corp was named after 
Margaret Lotl. Thereby the name of Lott Women Relief 
Corps No. 24. 

The meeting place was the Noble building until sold then in 
Ihe basement of the Moyer Library. Now in 1971 with 13 
members we meet in homes and the Assembly of God 

The dues at Ihe time of charter was one dollar a year after 
8(i years the yearly dues are $1.25. 

All of the Corps pictures and property is in a WRC Museum 
at Springfield, 111. 


A group of ladies met and organized the American Legion 
Auxiliary, Lee Lowery Unit 568 Department of Illinois in 
1920. Their charter was issued January 1, 1921. There are 83 
names on the charter, wives, mothers, sisters and daughters 
of World War I veterans, who had the year before formed the 
Lee Lowery Post 568. 

Mrs. Martha Patton was the first president. Of the original 
members six are still members of the present unit. They are 
Mrs. Mae Brading, Mrs. Marie Whallon, Mrs. Emma Jensen, 
Mrs. Elmer Sawyer, Mrs. Lulu Phares and Mrs. Vesta 
Preston. Most of the early records are misplaced or 

The American Legion Auxiliarys purpose "to contribute to 
the accomplishments of the aims and purposes of the 
American Legion." Its activities are designed to carry out 
the parts of the American Legion program which can best be 
accomplished by the work of women. Now membership is 
limited to women who have personal connections with World 
War I and II, the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts. 

As it was fifty years ago this Unit is still active today with 
community service, child welfare, Americanism and 

Mrs. John Muters is the present president with 105 

>Irs. Laurel Piiifj. new president of the \'.F".\V. 
\ii\iliary accepts Ihe gavel from retiring 
president Mrs. William Pearson al their in- 
stallation ceremon\ . Other officers and new 
members are i front row from left' Mrs. Frank 
Warder, trustee: Mrs. Dono\an Taylor, junior 
vice president; Mrs. Harold Andreae. guard; 
.Mrs. \ irgil .Steuart. trustee. Back ro« from left 

to right are; Mrs. Charles Schutte. treasurer: 
Mrs \adine Tomblin. secretary: Mrs. Zelma 
Bane; Mrs. Wilnia Tandy, chaplain; Miss (;ioria 
.lean Kenned\ ; Mrs. Robert Crossnian. senior 
\ice president; Mrs. Donald Douglas, Mrs. 
Frank Hendricks, conductress and Mrs. Kenneth 



The AiiuTU-nn Legion and \ eterans of I'oreign 
Wars firing s<niad 

Kennedi \\ . Meredith Mofti was installed as the 
new commander of the Brotherton - Keller Post 
No. f.2S!l of the \'.K.\\ . Laurel I'inK- senior vice 
commander of the 7th district was the installing 
officer. Other officers installed were (from left) 

Meredith, .\lhert Tongate. trustee; Ping. Ray 
Mc(;ehee. trustee: Sam Barrow, adjutant: Roy 
Rovd. junior vice commander: .lerry (larard. 
senior vice commander: Robert Grossman, 
historian and Virgil Stewart, quartermaster. 


Reference Sources 

Gardner, E. A. - History of Ford County Illinois from 
Its Earliest Settlement to 1908 

Beers, J. H. - Illinois Historical Atlas of Ford County, 
Illinois - Chicago, 1884 

Centurama - Ford County, Illinois, 1859 - 1959 

A Building & Educational Self Survey of the Gibson City 
Unit School District No. 1949-1950 

City Directory, City of Gibson, Illinois, sponsored by 
Chamber of Commerce 

Mary Grim Pate - The Pioneer Village of Gibson City 
(written in 1940), published by 
The Gibson City Courier 1954-1955 

Ed Bergstrom - History of Gibson City, published by 
The Gibson City Courier - 1953 

"Centennial Corner" - A series of articles published by 
The Gibson City Courier in 1971, 
written by many contributors. 

Original La Q Day Stories in Gibson City Aviation 

Scrap Book compiled by Mrs. Richard Schertz 


Q.977362L916 COOl 

A LOTT OF CITY IN 100 YEARS" 1871-197 

3 0112 025394856